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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

At your Beck and Call

How many times have you been in the middle of a project- focused and deep in thought when the phone rings and it's a client or customer who needs you right that very second? What do you do?

When you run a business it's very important to decide how much time you can devote to your clients and when that time is to be given. If you are in the middle of something very important, don't be scared to tell them " I'm sorry but I'm going to have to put you on hold or call you back." So many business owners feel bad about saying those words and get worried that because they don't jump for their clients,that they will lose them. When you run a business you need to be the one to decide your schedule, especially if you are juggling many clients at once.

So what can you do to make your clients know and understand that your time is just as important to them?

Put processes into place for answering emails- perhaps setting it up to check every 10 minutes or so, that way you aren't distracted when you are working. Emails can usually wait to be answered. You can even decide to just check them every few hours, when you need a break from the project you are working on. And prioritize them. Often a client will send an email, and then realize they forgot to mention items. The next thing you know you have five emails referencing the one item they wanted to talk about. Sometimes it pays to wait.

Let your clients know that you are taking time out to set up meetings just for them. If they miss the time or don't show up, offer to reschedule. But keep in mind that you need to determine when the meeting can take place. This is your business, you need to keep control of the time that you are investing.

Let your clients know that you might not get back to them until the next day. If they need a project done immediately let them know that you may be adding a "rush" charge to their invoice because they may have had to bump other clients.

Give your clients as much advance warning as you can about upcoming vacations and who to contact so they aren't left wondering what is going on when your emails go unanswered.

We have all become slaves to technology. Every time the email alert beeps or the phone rings we are desperate to jump on it, just in case we miss something.

It takes 20 minutes for your brain to reset itself after it stops to open an email or answer the phone. That time can add up.

It's okay to go at your own pace. You will have better service and quality if you take the time to work in the best manner that suits you and your employees.