January 5, 2021
A few weeks ago we popped into the Heart & Hustle Facebook group (if you’re not in there, come join! It’s a party. Link in show notes.) and we asked you to submit your business horror stories. We asked you to submit from the perspective of you as a client hiring or buying something, and not necessarily a business owner. So any experience you’ve had with ANY type of business that wasn’t ideal, that made you as the client not feel valued or respected.
Today we’re diving in and chatting about your stories and turning them into a learning opportunity. Giving advice on how we could learn from each experience to make all of our businesses better! We intentionally asked for your submissions to be anonymous because the LAST thing we want to do is call out certain people or businesses. NOT AT ALL. Our intention with this episode is to learn from anonymous stories, on how to make our client experience better and ultimately be more successful business owners.
We want to make sure that it is anonymous and know we are sitting here not trying to shame anyone as a business owner. We have done stupid mistakes and want to use this as an opportunity from a wider pool to teach from and how we can all improve. Things we aren’t even aware of. We want to all learn and grow together and are not trying to call out anybody.
As a client— was supposed to have a client consultation with a brand photographer, I was looking for personal branding photos. I got the times confused— I realized it about 5 minutes into when the call was supposed to start, and profusely apologized. I received a text that came off as rude stating that she had “squeezed me in” and “the time was clearly stated” and she couldn’t potentially put me on her calendar until January 2021, but to reach out to her then. Yeahhh…. not a chance I’ll be reaching out.
Evie & Lindsey’s thoughts:
From the business owner’s perspective, we see it from both sides. If clients are late, that is on them, BUT there is a moment where we should extend grace as a business owner and should ALWAYS be valuing our customers and treating them with love and respect. We do get busy, and the fact she literally could not fit anybody in, but that comes down to tone and how you treat your clients. Even if our schedule is PACKED, if her being late was an honest mistake and it was only 5 minutes, then I’d hop on the call with her in any available time I had. If you are that packed why are you having the call, to begin with?
It sounds like they are trying to punish the potential client for misunderstanding the time instead of approaching it by showing how busy she is and prove her worth. Even if you are super busy you can find time for a consultation, if you can’t then you shouldn’t be having a consultation. You’re busy and booked up.
The client is always right. You are there to serve your client, it is not about you as a business owner it is about serving your client.
From the business owner’s perspective, it is your job to always be on time, you need to be on time and have your stuff together. At the same time, you need to be on time yourself, but the client is always right. If they are late we should more often than not extend grace. Even if you are packed, do you not have five minutes on a Saturday? If you genuinely could not fit them in, be kind and understanding. Offer a few options that could work, and then be sincere when you tell them you genuinely can’t fit in until January 2021. More gentle. Again it is coming from a place of serving your client. This is not about you as a business owner, nothing you do as a business owner is about you. You are there to serve your people and that doesn’t mean there can’t be boundaries. But your attitude towards potential clients comes from a place of humility and service. Bottom line: serve your people, period.
Three months ago, I hired someone to go through my website and send me a video of changes to make regarding keywords, SEO, etc. I signed their contract and paid upfront, and then they ended up going viral a couple of weeks later on TikTok. They gained TONS of followers on Insta, so it became nearly impossible to get a hold of them. I sent DMs and emails checking in, sometimes four in a row over the course of a couple of weeks before they would respond, and they always apologized and thanked me for my patience, but never delivered anything to help me. At one point, they said they’d film the video within the next two days, but then I didn’t hear from them for two weeks. They followed up by saying the video was uploading to Vimeo right then, and that I’d get an email notification when it was done, but I never did. They were so active on TikTok and their Instagram stories the entire time, held virtual classes every week and responded to Q&As from someone who was worried about investing in their class because someone had taken their money before and not delivered. While I’m super excited for their success and totally understand being crazy busy, knowing I wasn’t a priority made me feel pretty bad. Luckily, they sent my refund yesterday, but it was definitely not a good experience.
Evie & Lindsey’s thoughts:
The most important sentence in that situation is “I signed their contract and paid upfront”, everything after that…WOO. We all want Instagram followers, we all want to go viral on Tik Tok, that’s not a secret. It’s freaking rad when you go viral or get an influx of followers. Let’s not pretend that we don’t want that. But at the end of the day, if you are prioritizing your Instagram “fame” or followers over your paying clients, that is WRONG.
It not only comes to serving your paying clients and not just your Tik Tok or Instagram fans, I think it comes down to you serving who was there first. This person was not only a paying client but was a paying client before all these people. We all make mistakes, we totally understand that if they went that viral that fast it’s a whirlwind.
We are very careful if we have a client waiting for an email, we tend to be careful to not be showing up on stories while they are awaiting an email. Make sure your paid clients are taken care of before you show up on social media. Serve your people who are showing up for you, investing in you, and everything else falls secondary to that.
The idea of paying clients waiting around while you are frolicking around on Instagram is a larger issue in the creative entrepreneur space. It’s hard because Instagram is fun, so we all gravitate towards that. There is a balance of yes it is fun but it is marketing and technically “work”. We have to draw that line as business owners to prioritize our paying clients and inbox first.
Discipline as a business owner to really steward and focus on the people that came first and paying clients. Not just focusing on the flashy parts of your business, which we think Instagram is, takes a bigger priority than Instagram. All day every day.
My husband and I are looking for a new apartment to move into soon and have done some apartment tours at different places. I will never forget the first place we looked at. The experience was so bad. We got there and waited 20 minutes for someone to help us, meanwhile the whole time we could see 4 employees outside taking a smoke break… right as we’re about to walk out and leave, this guy comes to help us. We should have walked out anyway. He was obviously very new. After asking us questions for another 20 minutes (at this point we’ve been there close to 45 minutes and haven’t seen an apartment yet) he takes us to see the apartment. After we saw it all (and after we had told him our strict budget while answering his questions) he told us that an apartment like that one was available for $300 outside our budget. Even after telling him that was out of our budget, he tried to pressure us by telling us all the features again and stressed that it was a deal and only good for that day only. We told him no. Oh, and he also mentioned during his awful sales speech that the “prices were going up soon” because his coworker (who tagged along) was in a meeting with her bosses all day and told us that she was super stressed out from it. Just a really bad way to approach trying to “sell” us and it felt very sales-ey and doing way too many things wrong.
Evie & Lindsey’s thoughts:
As a business owner don’t be twenty minutes late to an appointment. The main issues at play are the lateness and not valuing the customer. It doesn’t appear to be the owner of the business so then that dives into not giving your employees ownership value in your business. They don’t value the clients because they are looking at the job as just a paycheck. They don’t want to be there or value the clients.
The other thing here too is the sales approach, slimy sales, that we have discussed before and are not huge fans of. He was trying to pressure them into something $300 out of their budget and still toured them through the apartment. The sales approach was from a pressuring, manipulative perspective that most people can sense right from the beginning and makes them want to run the other direction.
When it comes to sales, you need to sell from the perspective of how this is going to serve and bless the other person. You have to recognize that sometimes you are not the person that will solve their problems. Your product or service is not the right fit for them and that is okay. So who or how can you recommend or refer them in a different direction? That will create a lasting memory. When you give somebody a good experience, meet their needs, and solve their problems as much as you possibly can, you are going to create a lasting impression that will create brand loyalty.
Business as a whole comes down to the fact that you need to prioritize treating people and serving their needs over money/sales. Why we have the slimy salesman idea is because businesses only focus on what can benefit them and not how they can serve someone else. Even if you serve someone and it doesn’t result in a sale for you, it will go so much farther. More longevity in your business because it will come around to benefit you in the future.
As a client, the biggest let down for me was spending HOURS researching the right photographer for a fall family session, then booking the photographer and not hearing back for the whole six weeks between booking and the shoot. It was such a let down because I felt like I had no connection whatsoever and our photos really were not what I had hoped for. Even after she sent the gallery she has never once followed up with me. So I kind of feel like just a paycheck. We will not be using this business again.
Evie & Lindsey’s thoughts:
What you need to do the second someone books with you, is send them an email and include things in it that are valuable and helpful. Have a follow up a week or two weeks before. You almost always need to have a follow up confirming location, time, and asking if there is anything they need help with. Discuss and communicate with our clients.
This is such a good example of if you just treat your clients like paychecks they will feel it. It’s about service, the heart posture, and the attitude you treat your clients with. Bottom line, serve your clients, follow up with them, send emails, do everything you can to help with pain points, and send a follow up after you send the gallery.
As a consumer, I went to get my second tattoo. I got bullied into getting something that was so different from what I wanted… I’m still frustrated to this day but that’s just a little background for the real mishap.
So from that day on, I was much more confident in seeking out true artists. After all, what better way to support art than parade it around and I wanted to love it to the point I would want to tell people who, where, and what’s up about the artist.
Well, I’m discussing my second sleeve at a shop, just because I got another tattoo there and loved the atmosphere. I have a rule that I need to speak with the artist they recommend and truly click because my tattoos are huge and that takes a long time of sitting. For perspective, my first sleeve was 11 and a half hours.
So I’m sitting there waiting and I always wear sweaters so you really can’t see I’m heavily tattooed (from that day forward I always went in with my tattoos showing). Well, I meet the guy and he’s dismissive off the bat. I start asking general questions and he’s just incredibly off-putting and blatantly rude (which it was lunchtime so whatever) but then, for the first time since I started getting tattoos, I had an artist talk DOWN TO ME. I was like “oh no.” I looked him in the eye and said “I don’t know how you get any business acting like this.” Pulled up my sleeves. Said, “it’s not my first rodeo, but you shouldn’t speak to first-time tattoo people like that either”. I left. Got a call from them and told them no thanks to that artist. 3 weeks later I walked right past him to another artist in the shop. Got my tattoo from her. And our dogs are besties.
First impressions are everything. Taught me that communication is so important. The only thing I can thank that guy for is teaching me what I definitely don’t want, and giving me tips for my own business moving forward.
Evie & Lindsey’s thoughts:
Communication is so important and your client’s experience. Even if you are the expert, again you need to approach those conversations from a place of service and how can you solve their problems. Not from the mentality that you are the expert, the genie in the bottle, the pro that knows it all. That should never be your approach. It should rather be, how can I make their life better?
Never have a condescending attitude. Your attitude is everything. Service on how you treat your customers is the top priority. Doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have, how viral you are, how much money you make, the end game here is to treat your customers or potential customers like they matter. They are important to you. Guess what, if you don’t you won’t be in business very long. It will fail and crumble.
How you treat people matters. Every single story ended with people not continuing service or going back. How you treat people/customers matters for the future of your business.
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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