Don’t call your clients liars


My Grandmother was easy to set off.   If you wanted to see someone rear up and kick call her a liar…and really I think this is the case for almost anyone!  People all want to be seen as good and one of the things that we all know is bad is lying.  There are many times in a day when we tell white lies but the key to those is that they are mutually agreed on and we all know that they are kindnesses and not genuine attempts to mislead.  So I was talking to one of my suppliers for, what I was to discover was, the last time.  And the conversation went like this.

Me: There is a mistake with the order…it was supposed to be one-sided not two…

Supplier: So?

Me: We need it to be one-sided so we can remove one sheet and not two…

Supplier:  Well my order sheet says you ordered two-sided!

Me: No…I remember the conversation I requested one-sided after you called me asking if it was two or one.

Supplier: Well my order sheet says two…

Me: Okay.  We, my associates and I, discussed this at length…We absolutely knew that the job had to be one-sided recto only.

Supplier: Well our order sheet says recto/verso…

Me: Alright, thank you.

And that is the last time that that business will ever hear from me for a print job…ever!  not only that it is the last time I will recommend that company as a business partner.  I even started the conversation willing to split the difference since I needed to make changes on top of fixing the problem.  So they lost a client who has pretty decent volume as we have manuals and employee handbooks that we create for our clients.  How many clients can you afford to lose in a year in an industry experiencing compression and closures left right and centre it seems to me the last thing you want to be doing is calling your clients liars to their face.

Now what to do about that?

  • Find a compromise.
  • Ask/figure out what the client needs, not what they want.
  • Always give regular clients the option to strike out once.  but also keep track of abusive clients so that you can make sure your not being taken advantage of.
  • Remember a returning client is one that will be much more profitable.

So be careful what you are saying to your clients when you tell them they are not telling you the truth…because you are calling them a liar…be ready for the consequences.

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Proactive service, driving your clients

I recently attended a screwup, at a funeral on top of it!

The obituary in the paper said the visitation would begin at 10:00am while the funeral home had the schedule down for 11:00. People were standing in the hall for 45 minutes before they opened the door!

So where was the first failure?
Obviously it starts when the funeral director hasn’t noticed that an obituary has been posted with the wrong time!
Next the staff hasn’t been notified that people will be arriving early.
The family wasn’t made aware that people would be early.
The room wasn’t ready until the last minute.

I come from a school of thinking that how to organize something starts with the end result in mind and the time you want to finish as place we begin, or said otherwise we start with the end.

So in this case I would go like this.

11:00 am doors open
10:30 am everything is ready
9:00 am call family if something is wrong
8:00 am staff arrives and begins to start preparations for the day
Previous day, verify all the obituary ads, online and paper to be able to anticipate the schedule for the next day!

So now I have to capacity to anticipate that my schedule the next day will be inadequate because I know, before people show up at the door that there was a screw-up and I can accommodate my clients so that the problem is extenuated and so even if I can’t accommodate people in the room that they are supposed to be in they are not milling around in the hallway because people are already in a delicate emotional state. If someone melts down in the hallway everyone is uncomfortable.

It’s not hard to be proactive but it does take a plan. And a desire to be so things in the best way possible.

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A request for the best!

“Don’t wear that! It makes you look poor!” Is that something to say to a woman in maternity wear 3 months after giving birth? Was that rude? Not when my grandmother says it!

And now I’ll tell you why! When we communicate there is a second level of communications that rests behind the words that we say. That level of communications is as important or more than the words that we have spewed out into the world.

In this case there was consideration and respect behind the words ” don’t wear that, it makes you look poor.”

There is also another layer to the communication that was there, and it was the following: You are a pretty, intelligent and driven woman who deserves to look beautiful and successful stop wearing stuff that makes you look like a balloon! And there was truth behind that as well. My wife looked at her and she said…”your right!” And her wardrobe changed almost over night.

When we are a request for the best from our environnement and we look towards our surrounding to lift itself up and generate themselves as the best that they can be for themselves, sometimes it takes words that shake us up. Words that aren’t the nice ones. Words that make us stop and think. And all things can be delivered with tact and politesse even if the words would otherwise be seen as offensive.

I also wrote an obituary recently that generated some controversy when someone read it because of the choice of words. And I had to stand my ground on the content of that text until the other person came back to me and said…”you know what? [I love this…]You were right.”

You can get away with almost anything if you deliver your communications with the appropriate levels of concern, consideration and appreciation for the perspective of the others involved in receiving the communications that you have to deliver!

Commit yourselves, make sure you have something to say…and SAY IT!

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Warm when it counts!

Brit and Chips WC

One thing you should know about me is that I am both resilient and fussy. I can spend a week on an icy mountain and complain vociferously when my chair is cold at the house. This is just one example of how context is everything!

But it shows you care when you know what the context is and you think about how to make sure your client is being taken care of. But Aaron what do you mean? Example please!

I went to a fish and chips joint in Montreal with the family and the place was BUSY, there were people coming in and out every 6 seconds and the outside temprature was about -4,000°C outside and the interior temperature was not very warm. But as you may have noticed I had to use the water closet. (Ergo the picture above) and it was tropical! It was great.

Think about this, in what other room in your establishment to you ask your clients to get naked and sit down???

And one thing I have noticed is that most small restaurants like to keep their bathrooms at about freezing! So this was a delightful change.

If you think this is the least used room in your business so you can cut in your budget by keeping the heat low, think again. It is the room where you take people in and host their most intimate needs. So consider this when you are saving money what it is costing the people who have to undergo your icy porcelain challenge.

Ask instead, how can we make the money to cover that cost and not where can we cut that no one will notice; because they always notice.

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