Let me tell you a story
I was meeting with a woman who needed our memorial services in a rush. We met Monday evening, the service was Wednesday morning—we were the only ones who could get it done in time.
Just to give you context, she came to us a year before and turned us away because we were too expensive. She did it herself. Now a year later she said it was a nightmare and wasn’t going through it again.
It almost cost me hundreds
Though validating my service, she haggled with me for an hour over the price. I did provide a discount, but something told me this wasn’t gonna end well. Unlike my previous article, Call the Bluff, I didn’t listen to my gut because I was desperate. If I didn’t have my processes in place it would’ve cost me hundreds.
Processes & policies
We state the maximum number of pictures that can fit on our funeral programs because too many photos end up sized too small to see. Although warned, she insisted on including more than the maximum. Since families provide the content, we send proofs for approval before we print. Then, we have a secondary proofing system to catch anything they miss. She approved the design. We caught and fixed dozens of mistakes she missed.
The end result
Afterwards, she was livid about how the programs came out. She called demanding a refund. I told her we informed you of these potential issues but you insisted. You saw and approved the proof we sent. We caught and fixed everything you missed. You have a copy of our policy. It states that when we make mistakes, we provide reprints. We’re not at fault, but I will reprint 50 copies with a design layout however you want. She hung up. I later found out from my referring client, she was lying about many of her issues and is known to be difficult to deal with.
The more transparent your process, the more it will save you. A process delivers the same experience every time making it easier to train others and builds trust with your clients.
How do you build your process?
Do it yourself over and over again until you have it down to a science. Then document the process. Think of the scene in The Founder when the McDonald brothers taped up the basketball court to create the process of delivering a fast food hamburger. You need to be that meticulous.
Step 2—Sign Offs
Step 3—Handling Dissatisfaction
Any discussion regarding dissatisfaction with the client should be over the phone or face-to-face. It shows you recognize their feelings and displays your professionalism. Too much can be misconstrued through text and email.
Working on the business
A process is a system which allows you to transition yourself from working in the business to working on the business. Now, was I wrong to deny her refund even though I followed my processes? What would you have done? Let me know your thoughts. Contact me at email@example.com.
George Paul III is a branding expert and award-winning designer. He’s the Founder of Seize the Brand, an education platform designed to empower business owners by leveraging the power of branding to realize business and life goals.