Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What to do When Your Client is Mad

What is the world's most popular radio station? WIIFM What's In It For Me. Your client is always right. Period. Case in point: I was expecting a time sensitive fedex yesterday and I didn't get it. I called in with the tracking number and my client id number, and the fedex agent swore that I wasn't on the docket. I asked nicely to speak to his supervisor. Seventeen times. He said, "My supervisor will just tell you what I'm telling you", in this really snotty manner. Finally the guy got bored and hung up on me, and when I called back, I got the same guy! When does that happen? When I finally talked to the supervisor, whose name I do have in case anyone from Fedex is reading this and cares, he also denied that I had a package on its way, demeaning me and making me feel like such a jerk so many times that I almost started believing him and gave up, but since I did have a tracking number, I begged him to search a different way, to look up my address, the senders address, my account number, which I had had the package sent on, something. His condescending, holier than thou, you made a mistake and now you're going to pay attitude was killing me. I felt so abused. I had paid to have this package sent to me overnight, I didn't get it, and now this joker was telling me that it had vanished. He actually said, "Well, I'm being nice enough to even look into it, so just shut up." I reminded him that that was his job, and he really wasn't impressed. Finally, he actually looked, found it, and not only didn't apologize, but was very rude still. I guess in the end, I got what I wanted, my package, but the 38 minute begging, pleading, threatening extravaganza with a neanderthal backwater freak simply wasn't worth it.

So today, I have a photo client, a very nice family who are great all the way around. Awesome. I really like the whole family. I'm shooting a special event for them. And they asked me to help them find a special service, so, even though it wasn't "my job,"I, wanting to help them, called around and found a friend of a friend who was very economical, super economical, ridiculously economical. Well, you guessed it...30 out of 100 were wrong. Not only that. The lab made an error on the printing. I called the special services guy. Nothing but excuses. I called my lab. No help. I panicked. 14 years of perfection, accolades accompanied by hearts, flowers, accolades and baked goods, gone. My perfect record had vanished. No one was willing to help me. No one cared about me as a client enough to jump through any hoops to hear what I needed and deliver it to me. Sweat surged down my back. The deadline to send these out was now. And I let her down. It doesn't matter that I was just trying to do a favor. It doesn't matter that there is always an eighth of an inch that doesn't necessarily zig when the press zags. My customer was really upset. I felt terrible for her. So what do you do? YOU FIX IT. FAST. FOR FREE. And you apologize and send baked goods. That's it. I took the whole thing off the bill, which really hurt, because, as some of you know, I am the only child of a mother who has late stage Alzheimers, and have to pay all of her staggering Alzheimers care and medical bills, but you know what? Your client doesn't care. All they want is their product. Now. Right. And if it's late and wrong, apologize and make it right as soon as possible. I cancelled my account with fedex. I'm now a UPS girl. Appreciate your customers, or they'll leave you, too.