Sacrificing Profits to Keep a Client Happy

Sep 18

Written by: Heather L. Sidorowicz
9/18/2012 10:40 AM  RssIcon


A client calls and has you quote a job. You’re busy (you’re always busy). The job is pretty big and you’re not sure you have a great chance of getting it, but you scramble and get the quote done anyway.

A few weeks go by. You get the job.

Yes! Crap! Both feelings flood your brain. You’re happy to have received the job but now you have to remember what you were thinking (yes, I know this can all be solved with better documentation). You have to make sure you quoted not only the right parts, but ALL the parts.

At some point you come across a better part for the project. You know (in your heart AND gut) that this product will be better for the long term. You know you’ll have less troubleshooting on site and the product will last longer. But it will eat away at your profit.

What do you do?

Maybe you go back to the client and ask them for more funds. Maybe you tell them that after extensive research you found a better part for their system. What if they don’t have any more funds? Do you put in the originally quoted part? Or do you take the hit, and put in the right part for the project?

Maybe this job will get you the next one.

Maybe.

This is the world we live in as custom integrators. There are companies that care, and those who do not. You know who the companies who don’t care are. You know those guys (or girls) who go out and do the job to the bare minimum without care to what is best.

If you are a company that cares… have you taken a hit from your bottom line to make sure the client is happy for the long term? Did you tell your client? How do you explain to them that you slept with this job? That you made sure every part was the right part and that you feel good at the end of the day knowing the best products have been installed? You’re on their side.

Crack this code you will have a client for life. You might go the extra round on this job, but they will be less hesitant to question you on the next one. The client will be more likely to recommend you to their friends. Grab enough of these clients and you’ve just kept yourself in business for the long run. This is the cost of caring. This is why a client buys the system from you instead of the ‘trunk slammer.’ You are the solutions expert.

Now go forth and do the right thing.

3 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Sacrificing Profits to Keep a Client Happy

"Covet your clients because if you don't someone else will"

There should always be the credo internally of "do the right thing" when dealing with any professional responsibility. It's a matter of ethics, pride and craftsmanship.

I'm very much on board with Heather's message.

However....

Your client doesn't always understand what it is that you do, and quite frankly other clients don't really care what you do - so there does have to be some balance, you might know the burning hoops of fire you jumped through to deliver the experience to them, but they don't

If you're making sacrifices, document it along the way, if you decide to eat it, make the client aware - not as a matter of whining but as a tacit example of you are looking our for their best interests. Monitor your language and correspondence tone, make sure that you are presenting it in the manner you intend *AND* make sure that you elicit some feedback to that effect.

At the close of the project, simply and subtly point out where you made "courtesy accommodations" for them as well as why you did it. Cultivating a client comes from building a dialogue, and referrals come from people who understand *why* they were taken care of, not just because "she gave me a deal"



By Richard Fregosa on   9/18/2012 11:09 AM
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Re: Sacrificing Profits to Keep a Client Happy

Bravo Heather. Well put. It is a common situation that arises and "we" in the business are truly the only ones that do get it.

By Chris Eagen on   9/21/2012 5:30 AM
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Re: Sacrificing Profits to Keep a Client Happy

This is the result of to many CE companies,and them cutting thier own throat to get jobs all the time and to the dreaded trunk slammer.
This is a very messed up industry. Very hard to compete like that.

By Jim Conway on   9/21/2012 7:32 PM

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