It goes without saying that clients should be treated with respect and decency.
We strive for that, and also try to keep on top of updates even though few clients ask for them, because progress on pieces is usually interesting to owners and curators.
This post is building on the first post on Business Etiquette, which you can read here. We are suggesting Client Etiquette as well:
- Be polite… and be generous and calm in your emotional responses. We expect what we give… Consider that the we are doing the very best we can do and there are conditions out of our control that may have caused your distress.
- When we ask for information (like your address) don’t refuse to give us your information. If you have an issue we can discuss it. Assume that a business has a reason for their protocol, i.e., we ask for full contact information before engaging our time in estimates and other time consuming dialogues. If you ask we are happy to tell you why. We ask for full name, address, phone number, email, if the person contacting us is the owner, and best time to call. Perhaps you live on the other side of the country and we might recommend another conservator.
- Beside pickup and delivery (and estimating these items, we also keep a copy of the estimate form with each item, and that form has all pertinent contact info. If info is missing, then in the event that something happens to us, you may get an item back when our executor has the time to chase you down. These protocols were made critical when Covid hit. We do not sell/share client information.
- Ask a business if they prefer text messages before sending it… for our purposes we do not unless we are coordinating an imminent delivery. We prefer emails because they can easily become part of a client file and we can see images better and track changes much better than doing business on a credit card sized screen. This has become more important as now there are two dozen ways to contact a person and if I have to chase a client then I am going to charge for the extra effort.
- Read emails thoroughly and answer ALL questions, which keeps us from having to delay a proper response because we’ve had to ask for the same info several times… We know everyone is not operating at full capacity as the pandemic stresses everyone, so it is important to slow down and read important communications. We never send spam so if we write you, it is important to read and answer!
- Finally, work with the delays, understanding that delays usually mean in businesses such as ours that we can’t do better than we are doing and that we are also not getting paid if the projects are not completed, meaning we have a vested interest in completion!
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I hope your clients and potential clients appreciate this.
I don’t think the ones that need to hear it read these kinds of things! Sadly, while we have many great clients, we are seeing more very rude demanding people.
When we had our shop, the worst clients were the ones that could more than easily afford my work.
That is 100% true for us. Our best clients and fastest paying clients are those who want the items but have to budget for it.