Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ignore Deadlines At Your Own Risk

It’s 5:36 AM.  

I haven’t slept all night.  And our 2 year old will wake in a couple of hours.  

Why am I still up?  It’s not insomnia.  The fact is my wife and I were working on a project together, and we had to burn the midnight oil to make an 8:00 AM deadline.  

This is not the first time we’ve done this. And one reaction I have typically gotten when I tell stories like this is that we’re “nuts.”  

The truth is we could come up with excuses about how the program the client wanted us to use on the project caused our computers to crash, and I spent a good portion of time repairing the computers (which is true).  

But here’s the deal: I am not about to tell that to the client.  We promised this client the work would be delivered by the deadline. Do you think he cares about our excuses?  The client is depending on this to be delivered on time—plain and simple.  

We take our clients’ deadlines very seriously.  If you want an idea of how serious, go have a look at my wife’s web site and read her headline.  You’ll see what I mean.

But am I “nuts” for staying up all night to make sure I made a deadline?  

I don’t think so, and I am actually shocked by how many people I meet in business that don't take deadlines seriously.  I used to find it strange that clients would compliment me on getting jobs delivered on time.  But now I see that it is not as common as it should be.  

But that is an opportunity for you to deliver high-quality customer service.  A simple thing like meeting deadlines can endear you to your clients and bring you their repeat business and referrals (just be sure to ask your satisfied clients for referrals).

In marketing, many times we concentrate on the bigger things and lose sight of the small things.  Don’t make that mistake.  You may have a great marketing system in place, but you should never lose sight of the things that are most important to your clients.  And I guarantee you that deadlines are one of those things that are most important to them.

To close, here is my deadline mantra (feel free to repeat this):

“Deadlines…meet ‘em or beat ‘em—no excuses”

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

1 comment:

Asha said...

I totally agree! Have respect for your clients and appreciate the work that has come your way. Fulfilling their needs is part of your service. So providing high quality service can be key to building trust and can let your clients know that they can count on you!