I think we have all heard from our customers, “It will just take a minute…” or “Just one little change….” Nothing takes a minute and any change always changes something else.
It’s a fine line we walk as small businesses. It is very easy for customers to ask us to bend the rules, do just one little thing, just this one time… especially if it is a long-time customer. They know where the buck stops—not so easy to claim company policy when they know you are the company. Or what about a new prospect, with offers of huge orders and loads of work… I know we’ve all done it at one time or another, given prospects or customers something in return for a hope of more work or orders. There is nothing wrong with that as a business practice. Although, I recommend staying away from its close cousins "trade and barter." Just remember, if you get to the point where you feel you are being taken advantage of—you are.
We all want to be seen as having excellent customer service. We all want to be as helpful as possible, that’s great as long as it doesn’t become the norm of your company. At some point, sooner or later, you must get paid for your time and product, otherwise you are running a charity not a business. Here is one solution for balance while walking that fine line of excellent customer service and being taken advantage of.
Invoice all the work you do.
Put the real time and dollar amount on the invoice.
Place a zero or the reduced rate at Balance Due.
Attach a very short statement
— Explain the exception made, bonus given, etc.
— Express pleasure in the giving, appreciate the continued business, etc.
The type of requests above for “freebies” is not the same as an irresistible free offer to attract attention. Giving out an irresistible trial offer shows that you believe in your product. It is part of your marketing budget and has a planned follow-up system and time or quantity limit. It is one way for the customer to “test-drive” before they buy… more about the value of those next week.
Thank you may make you feel good but it doesn’t pay the rent.
Have a great day in whatever your adventure
To Success! To Life!
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