“They shouldn’t make a fuss about it.” That is a sentence I heard from an Inside sales as a client asked for the offer that was promised to him a couple of days ago. Of course the sales agent just said that to a colleague, but bad enough. Talking to the client they will show this attitude too, if they want it or not. An honest and believable apology for the delay is not very likely this way.
And in my opinion even the underlying attitude is not ok. As a supplier the customer expects that you do what you promise. And if that is not possible once in a while, you need good communication skills.
Let’s stick with the example of the delayed offer. If there is a good reason why you couldn’t send it in time you can inform your client in time. And in time means as early as you know it so the client can react, inform their colleagues or organize what it takes.
The consequences out of this are not for you to judge. Sometimes a little delay is no big deal. Another time a meeting might be planned to discuss the offer and a lot of people have to be informed if that doesn’t happen. Or imagine your customer has a bad-tempered boss that keeps him responsible if anything doesn’t work the way it’s planned. It’s fact: you don’t know it. There might be a very good reason for the client to exaggerate.
A few tips at the end:
- Keep promises serious. Wednesday is Wednesday, not Thursday.
- Take care that you have enough time. Sometimes your stress is homemade because you promise more than you can keep.
- Take problems as serious as your client does it. When in doubt, even a little more serious.
- If you cannot avoid breaking a promise, inform as early as possible
- And if all this annoys you, start to work on yourself. It’s your job to deal with clients. Learn what’s necessary to do it.
I am rarely this direct in my blogs, but this is a topic that bothers me. I have some service suppliers that work for me. And although I haven’t got a choleric boss (I am very nice as a boss for myself), I get annoyed if promises are broken without comment. If I can contribute to improve this, I am happy to do it.