Being in business for yourself can be a difficult thing. When you work for another company and you are dealing with clients/customers, you do not always feel personally responsible to ensure their satisfaction. Perhaps you should be: after all, your job is to make sure that you do what it is you need to do to bring customers back again and again.
But unless you have a lot of time and money invested in the company, and unless the success that you have with customers directly affects the success that you have in that business, chances are you just might let some complaints slide right off of your back because, well, they don’t really effect you in the long run.
When you are in business for yourself, this cannot be farther from the truth. One thing that you want to try to avoid at all costs is to end a job with a dissatisfied, if not angry, customer or client.
I recently had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine, who is also in business for herself. She had just gotten off of the phone with one of her clients. The client had requested for my friend, who has owned her business for several years now, to do the job in one particular way. She told the client that she didn’t feel the job could be done satisfactorily this way and that she could do it in a different way with, she felt, a much better outcome.
The client then went on to call another company. He found out that this other company could do the job the way that he wanted it and felt that the job would actually turn out better than the way my friend could do it if she did it her way.
And so you see the problem.
The client called back fairly upset. He wanted to know why one company could do exactly what he wanted and why her company could not, and he also wanted to know if he could terminate the contract and move on.
Luckily, rather than get angry or just give in, my girlfriend told him that she would invest some more time into looking into this alternate route and get back with him.
When she did, what she found surprised her. Seems that in the past six months things have changed in her field. While she was busy working, it became possible to do the job the way this guy wanted it done.
Had my girlfriend written him off as a difficult client and refused to go out and determine if she could do the job differently, she wouldn’t have known this. Instead she took some time to listen to what he had to say, she learned something new about her job, and she not only kept her client but she was then able to broaden the scope of what she could offer to future clients.
Sometimes we forget to learn more when we are in business for ourselves. We get caught up in the work, and we don’t take the time to read our trade magazines or to even take a class to sharpen our skills. Some fields change so quickly – like technology, which is her field- that one day something is not possible and the next it is not only possible but the best option. For this reason it is important to keep tabs on what is going on in your line of work.