Skedsheet Blog

Where we talk about the product, calendars, organization, and business

You’ve got to set expectations

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Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business. Large stores, gilt signs, flaming advertisements, will all prove unavailing if you or your employees treat your patrons abruptly. 
     –P.T. Barnum

My washing machine is leaking.  It’s under warrantee and I’ve left two messages and sent an email…today.  All I want is a call back or some kind of response.  It’s okay if you can’t come out to fix it this week and I don’t mind if  there’s going to be a charge. 

But, every minute I wait I get frustrated for no reason.  On top of that, I’m cursing, getting worked up, and won’t recommend you to my friends.

I understand why this can happen – I’ve been guilty of not following up when I say I will, not being clear about what I’m doing, and mostly taking on more things than I should.

We try to treat our customers as we’d like to be treated.  No matter how you slice it, most of the time it comes down to one thing:

Set the expectations from the beginning and keep communicating.

We keep improving how we set expectations, but it really comes down to being organized enough to tell your customers what’s going on.  If you’re selling something, you need to end every conversation with a plan for what will happen next. 

If you promise to make a phone call, you need to follow through – especially if it’s uncomfortable or bad news.  Even if you don’t know the answers you’re being asked, just be honest – rather than making up excuses, most people are happy with the answer:  “I’m really sorry.  I don’t know.  I’ll try to help.”

After four calls, I finally caught someone live on the phone.  “Didn’t you know?  Our tech is scheduled to come to your house to fix your machine at 10 tomorrow”.


Written by Harry Hollander

July 17, 2009 at 7:44 am

Posted in Customer Service

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