Part of the business world is being a client, and another part is having clients. This can often occur just moments apart - you’ll switch hats for a phone call with an outsourced marketing company where you are the client expecting a service, and then flip to talking with a client about their specific needs. With the strange times, it’s important to remember a few key components to composing yourself as a client and with your clients.
When you are talking with clients...
Ask what they need.
Know that your clients may have bigger issues going on than their accounting or bookkeeping. Things may be in check there, but they may need help with SBA disaster relief or applying for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Ask them how things are going, don’t push your services on them, but instead ask how you can help.
Times are hard right now, and cash flow may be sparing. Be empathic when talking with your clients. If possible, offer a payment plan with little to no interest that allows clients the option of paying a smaller amount continuously over time, and won’t bring their bank to a scary territory.
Your clients are likely panicking behind-the-scenes right now, so do your best to respond in a timely fashion, addressing all their concerns and scheduling a call, if necessary. If they are a bit more demanding than normal, remember it’s a trying time for us all, and it may be getting the best of them. Assure them you will address their wants/needs as soon you can.
When you are the client…
Pay on time.
Whether you’re using a payment plan or covering the full amount, pay on time. Nobody wants to wait around for their money, especially when it’s more needed now than ever. It’s simply a matter of being respectful. If there are issues with you making a payment by a certain date, be transparent and discuss an amended payment plan.
Ask for help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Know what you need and how to express it. They can’t help you if you aren’t clear with what you’d like or you don’t ask for it.
Things are a bit sideways right now - if someone doesn’t get back to you as quickly as you think they should, allow an additional 24 hours for their response before following up. Keep in mind you are not their only client nor their biggest issue right now. You are important, but your issues might be able to wait a bit while they sort things out elsewhere.