Join us - Friday 29 September 2023

The Business Improvement Summit


Featuring 'Blog From the Dog


Educate your customers

Owner managed businesses often feel a requirement to always be available for their customers and clients - no matter what they may be doing or where they may be.

  • How many times have you responded to an email or two last thing in the evening just because they popped up on your phone and you thought “well I might as well”?

  • How many times have you accommodated an unrealistic timeline from a customer just to help them out… even when they were well aware of the deadline that you needed them to work to?

  • How many times have you gone the extra mile for a customer… simply because they haven’t done what they originally said they would?

Don’t worry - we all have!

Be more like Daimler...

Educating your clients and customers that their responsibilities under the customer/supplier relationship are as important as yours can be a challenge, but once they understand that if they shirk their responsibilities, then things may be delayed or opportunities missed, it allows you to deliver far greater value and often for less investment.

A really useful tool here is to have clear ‘office hours’. A great owner-managed business that we know was really, really strict in saying that the office opened at 09:00, and closed at 17:30 unless it was Friday, when it closed at 16:00.

Call outside of those hours, the answerphone answered. Email outside of those hours - no reply until the next working day. And the positive thing is that the vast majority of his customers really respected his decision.

Ever emailed an employee of Daimler when they are on holiday? You will receive a reply from their “Mail on Holiday” system that says “This person’s on vacation, so we’ve deleted your email. This person will never see the email you just sent. You can email back in a couple of weeks, or you can email someone else”.

3 takeaways to help you take back the control

  • Ensure that your customer's inefficiency and operational challenges don’t end up simply being dumped on you.

  • Clearly communicate your working hours and availability to your customer and your team.

  • That email doesn’t need responding to at 8:30 at night - it can wait!