Here’s a pet peeve of mine: people who do not return phone calls or (worse yet) stand you up for scheduled appointments. I always return a call ASAP, even if it is to tell the person that I am not interested. I also make sure I have my decks cleared and am ready five minutes prior to a scheduled conference call or appointment.
I also expect my prospects and clients to do the same, to honor scheduled appointments. No, they have no obligation to return a call that I initiate, and many do not. That’s the nature of our beast.
However, when a client skips a scheduled phone or office meeting, well, I like to let them know that what they did is not appropriate. I’m not afraid of embarrassing a rude client. However, I have also found that some simply do not know any better. (No, I am not saying that they appreciate a gentle berating from this old curmudgeon, but they rarely stand me up twice.)
Why you need to keep all appointments and return all phone calls (and just might want to share with your appointment-missing clients, too):
- It reflects upon your company or organization. We all work hard to create a positive image that says our company is reliable and service-oriented and professional. By acting unprofessionally, we hurt that image.
- It reflects upon you. People do not forget rude behavior. In this shrinking business world, positive relationships are a crucial way to move ahead on our career paths. Failing to keep appointments or return calls tells others that we are either ignorant, indifferent, or disorganzied
- It is simply rude. It shows no respect for the other person’s time. I know my time is precious, so when I schedule a conference or show up for an appointment that turns into a no-show, that person has wasted my time. It’s not okay.
- It broadcasts a bad message. It says, "I think this person is not worthy of being treated with respect." These very often are the same people who cringe in front of their bosses, catering to those who hold power over them, while disdaining those who they believe cannot hurt them. Such behavior will eventually catch up to them.
- It’s just bad business. We work hard to create positive images. Why undo all our efforts by failing to invest 30 seconds in a phone call, if only to say, "Thanks for your interest, but I’m just not interested."
So, what about you? Have you ever stood up a client? Or has a client ever stiffed you? Have any horror stories or wild, I-can’t-believe-he/she-did-that" tales to share? Let us know.
Oh, and work hard, make money, and have fun. — JRIngrisano (The Freestyle Entrepreneur)
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