We’ve all done it. You’re running a little late to something, and as a common courtesy you take a second and quick send out an update text: “so sorry, running late, be there in 10!” That way the person who is expecting you knows what’s going on and isn’t wondering why you’re not there yet. We’ve also probably all been on the other end when the late person doesn’t send the update text. Depending on how late the person is, you eventually will start to wonder what’s going on. Is everything okay? You might give them a call, and if they don’t pick up, well that just makes it worse. That’s when you might actually start to get either a little mad, or just actually worried for their safety.
Some of us are naturally more patient people than others, so it might take those people a while before they get to that point, but if a person is late enough, there is no update text or phone call, and they’re not answering their phone, eventually even the most patient among us will start to be concerned.
Why am I talking about such a common aspect of day-to-day life? Because I recently realized how the idea of the update text (or phone call, what have you), and the fact that people love to be informed of changes in plans, etc., really ties into good business practices. Oftentimes, when a business is working with a client, unexpected things will come up along the way that might add more time onto the project than what was originally discussed. In these cases, an update is highly appreciated. Chances are, unless there is a pressing deadline that the client is trying to meet, they will be flexible and will respond well. Not only that, but they will appreciate being kept in the loop. On the other hand, if time keeps going by, and the client is not hearing from the business, they might start to get skeptical and frustrated. In my opinion, a business should always try to avoid that scenario by taking a couple minutes out of their day to update their client.
I would go so far as to say that the level of satisfaction that someone feels toward a business is closely tied with whether the business sent out updates, as well as how responsive the business was to questions and concerns as they came up.
Similar to the above real-life scenario, if a client calls a business that they’re working with, no one picks up, and then time goes by without them ever getting a response, they’re going to start to get concerned, upset, and above all, skeptical as to whether they should really be using this business in the first place. Again, this needs to be avoided at all costs.
Customer satisfaction is what leads to referrals, and referrals are the lifeblood of small businesses. It’s the businesses that take the time to be responsive and to update their clients that end up standing out from the crowd, and becoming more successful. So no matter what, remember that it is always worth the extra five minutes (if that!) that it takes to send out that update or call that person back. It might not seem like a big deal now, but I truly believe it’s the little things like this that separate the great businesses from the “pretty good” ones.