When you get complaints against your business what do you do? It happened to me last week and I decided to shoot a video about what can happen when you get a complaint or a compliment in your business.
Here's a written version of the story that's similar to the video (the video has more content.)
It started out with a message left on my cell phone last Friday night from a woman I knew slightly a number of years ago. (I moved away from the area in which she lives over 4 years ago and have not seen or heard from her since well before that.)
She said, “Please give me a call……..we met in Knoxville at a networking group some time ago…I wanted to catch up with you, I have questions about my blog that I was wanting to get straightened out so please give me a call.”
My thought was to email her on Monday when I got back to my desk and ask her what exactly she wanted to know about blogging – that can be an hour or more conversation, for sure! Meanwhile, though, she signed up for a free training webinar that I offered last week, coincidentally also about blogging.
After she signed up, she got a reminder from us about when the class was and to that reminder she responded in an e-mail that “she had questions before she signed up for the class, would I please call her?” (At this point she had already signed up for the free webinar, had read the description of what it covered, and had received a free worksheet that we would be going over during the training.)
So I wrote her back and said “I can’t do that, but if you want to shoot me your questions by e-mail I’ll find some time to answer them.” To which she e-mailed back, “why would you include your phone number if you don’t take calls.”
To me, this felt pushy and rude. But I wrote back anyway and said “I'm not going to argue with you or defend what I do or don't do. My phone number is no secret because my clients know they can reach me. I don't have time in my schedule to chat when I don't even know what the topic is. If you want to email me I'm happy to use my free time, usually very early in the morning, to help you. If you don't like that then you are welcome to purchase some of my time and make an appointment.”
To which she replied, “I really am amazed. I have never met such hostility from a person in business for themselves. No, I will not purchase anything from you.”
Well, this woman has been on my list for probably 7 years and has never purchased anything yet so I guess that behavior is nothing new. She is a freebie seeker, and a demanding freebie seeker at that. How it feels to me is that with very little relationship with me she wanted phone time for free coaching. She wanted to tie up half an hour or more of my time asking questions about blogging and was not willing to even outline in an email what her questions were. Depending, I probably had some free worksheet I could have sent her that would have quickly answered her questions – for free.
She’s a business person – a massage therapist. I wonder how she would feel if someone said to her, “Call me, I met you a few times years ago. I want you to come by and give me a massage to help me out but I’m not planning to pay you, and I’m not going to tell you ahead of time what the problem is I’m having.”
This person doesn’t even realize that I get about 700 emails a day asking for various commitments. For me, her demanding tone was a warning and was unpleasant from the start. She never once said “I know I’m asking for some of your time.” My bet is that she doesn’t respect her OWN time so she doesn’t know how to respect another’s time.
In the video I say that both compliments and complaints will come your way in business. You can't let either one of them take your emotions up or down – it's up to you to remain on even ground, conscious of your feelings but not letting that affect your mood. I consider myself to be very generous with my time. But I won't be bullied into spending it with someone who demands it out of the blue. Agree with me or not, but keep your ground when things like this come your way.