This week was a reminder to me that life does not always go as planned. No matter how hard you work to make your clients happy, there are times that things will not go the way you wanted them to go. I have always said that I would go the extra mile for my clients. This week I went several hundred miles. And, in the end, the order was delivered on time and the end product was exactly what the client had ordered.
On Tuesday, I had a supplier send me an email informing me that my “in hands date” could not be met and that my order would be shipped June 8th to arrive on June 9th. The school that ordered these shirts had planned to give them to their students on their last day of school, June 2nd. Unless I was able to make a miracle happen, these children would not have their shirts for the last day of school. So my husband and I spent 5 hours driving to pick up the tee shirts from one screen printer and deliver them to one who could meet my deadline. I am blessed to have a great network and when I reached out to a company who is actually a competitor, he agreed to work with me to make everything happen on time. He did, and for the dedication he had to my order, I will always be grateful.
I want my clients to have faith in me, my products and my company. This week, I am writing my blog about the importance of being a person of your word.
“Don’t destroy the works of your hands by not keeping your word.” Ecclesiastes 5:6
In a perfect world, items are ordered, shipped and arrive on time. They are delivered to my client and everyone is happy. Unfortunately, there is an occasional glitch that causes added stress, sleeplessness and frustration. We have all had things happen to us that make us question whether or not the person we are working with is reliable, honest and trustworthy. Calls are not answered, emails do not arrive in a timely manner, quotes come in higher than we expected and we worry about whether or not our “in hands date” will be met. 99 1/2% of the time, things go smoothly. It’s that less than one percent of the time that we need to worry about.
Have you ever thought about how many people are affected if you do not follow through with what you’ve promised? Most of the time, it’s not just your client that is affected. If your client was planning an event and your products don’t arrive on time, then every person at that event is let down. The trickle-down effect can be huge.
“There is a certain level of professionalism you must adhere to…not keeping your word in business settings is the first sign of failure.” Unknown
This week I would like to discuss a few ways you can work on being a person of your word.
Learn to Say “No”
If the timeline for a project is too short, or you worry that your suppliers cannot deliver in time, be honest with your client. I have taken on a few projects knowing that unless there was a miracle, things wouldn’t happen on time. I’ve spent sleepless nights filled with unnecessary worry. Be honest with your client about the time it will take to complete their project. It may be that the timeline can be pushed back a few days and give you time to relax and breathe.
Be Trustworthy and Reliable
People value reliability. I have always tried to under promise and over-deliver. I love bringing an order to an office earlier than expected. It shows my clients that I really do care about doing business with them. Being a person of my word teaches my clients that when they place an order with me and have a “firm in-hands date,” I will do everything in my power to meet that date.
Have Integrity and Respect
It is hard to gain respect for someone who continually lets you down. I believe that being a person of my word helps build a mutual respect between me and my clients. They know they can count on me and I know that I can count on them. My clients can feel secure in knowing that they can refer me to their friends and colleagues without a fear that I will let them down. I want those who know me and the quality my work to think of me when they are asked for a referral in my industry.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
It is important to make sure that your client knows what is happening with their order. Just as you worry about meeting deadlines, your client worries, too. Send them a note once the order is in production and again once it is shipped. This communication will help you avoid any surprises.
Be the Best You Can Be
Work hard every day to be the best you can be. Keep your commitments. Let your actions speak for themselves. Strive for excellence in everything you do. Be honest and truthful when issues arise. Create a daily habit of starting and finishing the day strong. Make sure your clients know how much you appreciate them.
Where are you in establishing credibility with your clients? Can they count on you to deliver what you’ve promised? It is never too late to begin to build positive relationships with your clients. It is important to remember that the reason you have a business because you have clients. Why not build your business filled with happy and satisfied customers?
I will end with this quote by Katrina Mayer –
“Integrity is making sure that the things you say and the things you do are in alignment. “
Have a blessed week!