Do our clients make New Year Resolutions? Or, given that as business owners we too are clients (to our accountants, designers, marketing advisers, lawyers, printers…), do we ever make resolutions wearing our client hats, rather than our “own business” hats? Here are some resolution suggestions for anyone wanting to be a better client.
Pay on time. Establish a payment timescale and stick to it. I’ve got some clients (well, one) who pay me “by return”, others at 30 days, one at 90 days. As long as I know that’s the timescale, that’s OK, I can work to it. But if it’s 90 days then I’ve already been patient so please don’t make me chase you up. If you pay me late, I can’t pay my suppliers on time. And so it goes on, down the chain. I’ve got one public sector client whose payment times go way beyond 90 days, but I’ll discuss them in another post — my blood-pressure wouldn’t stand it right now.
View your suppliers as your partners. They should have your interests at heart. If your suppliers are really good, they’ll have your customers’ interests at heart too: your readers, visitors to your website and so on.
If you use a translator’s services: do not think, even for a second, that translators merely re-type your material into another language. I repeat: not…for…a…second.
Accept that you get what you pay for. If your supplier charges more than the average rate, then maybe, just maybe, their work is of higher-than-average quality. If they charge below the average rate, then don’t even go there. Do you want average, or do you want the best? If it’s the best then be prepared to pay for it.
If you’re a public sector client, review your procurement criteria. Are they proportionate to the contract concerned? Have you just lifted the critera from a previous contract (worth millions of euros) and applied them willy-nilly to a much smaller one worth some thousands of euros? Or, worse still, have you applied them not to a contract but just for inclusion on an “approved supplier list”? If so, you’re causing undue grief to small businesses and possibly excluding the people who could be giving you the best service. Again, my blood pressure’s telling me that this tale is best continued in another post.
Have you any thoughts on this? Any resolutions that you’d love your clients to make — and keep? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
By Marian Dougan
Quite simply, communicate.
If you contact a business and ask them to do a proposal, cost estimate, or both, and you decide not to go with them, let that business know.
I am getting very tired of putting the time and effort into proposals and despite all efforts at follow up, receiving *nothing* in return. No acknowledgement of receipt, no thank you for the proposal, no notification of the rejection.
If you do not want to work with someone that’s fine. Just say so. Don’t leave them hanging incommunicado without even the courtesy of an acknowledgement.
Of course, if you are contacting a professional for a full proposal having no intention of using them for the service, and are merely farming for the criteria that a professional would use, that is another issue entirely.
Oh yes, communication is SO important. As are basic good manners. Some of my clients don’t reply when I deliver a project. Not even a confirmation of receipt, far less a “thank you”. It’s rude and unprofessional on their part.
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