Yesterday a customer asked his CFO to arrange payment for me. Today the CFO sent me a message saying, “Thank you for the paperwork! That was the most constructive and super fast interaction I’ve had with a contractor in 30 years).” It was nice and unexpected. After all, I didn’t really do anything. Just exchanged our companies details right away, and then promptly prepared and sent the invoice, contract, etc. for signature.
If customers want to pay you, you shouldn’t put obstacles in their way. Common sense, right? But from this experienced CFO’s observation, not everyone is adept at common sense in business. How often have you been stuck in a restaurant, waiting for a long time to get the check? Even if the food was magical, such slowness can kill all the excitement. You are tempted to get up and leave after 30 minutes of pleading to get your money.
I’ll admit, I didn’t have an immediate “epiphany” either. I remember being struck by a business partner whose attitude to interaction with clients could be characterized as “whatever it takes”. Whether it was getting a multimillion-dollar tranche from an investor for our PE/VC fund or hundreds of thousands of dollars from a potential apartment buyer from our development company, my partner did everything he could to create a VIP experience for the client. He was ruthless with himself and our team as he removed the slightest hindrance to the client’s desire to buy something from us. From interest to decision making and then payment, the process should be perfect and seamless, as if it didn’t exist.
Of course, that’s not your competitive advantage. It’s your core product that creates the super-value to the customer. But such a “trifle” is, first, a hygiene factor, which at the highest level is a must. Second, you save customers time, and the more premium the service, the more it is valued. Thirdly, it is symbolic, because as you are in small things, so are you in everything else.
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As a business therapist, I help tech founders quickly solve dilemmas at the intersection of business and personality, and boost company value as a result.
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