Posted by 2014-07-20
Title: OnTime Clients...
My husband and I run a small Haying operation in Southern Alberta where we have clients who contact us then come and pick up our hay bales at an appointed time which has been mutually agreed upon.
My question is how do I get them to arrive on time? I do ask them to let me know if they will be late or delayed - with all the methods of communication (phone, email, text, fb, twitter etc) there should be no reason why they can't.
I'd like to know what other business folks do to keep their clients on time - I know I'm always arriving early to any appointment I have...I'd never hold anyone up!
Thank you everyone for your feedback!
Honestly, the only response I've seen that has any effect is imposing a penalty on being late - financial or otherwise. Maybe a tiered pricing system for on-time vs. late clients, where late clients would pay a premium? You could also flip it around to be more positive and give on-time clients a slight discount or bonus product. If you don't put a value on your time, your clients won't either. Good luck!
Always a tricky one - some business people don't keep to a schedule and some do. Changing this behaviour is not easy especially with customers.
You might consider incenting or recognizing them for showing up on time in a fun way - i.e. give them a coffee gift card for consistently showing up on time.
My comments are based on farming experience. Do your clients pay for the hay in advance of picking it up? If so, this may provide incentive for your clients to be more prompt. Unfortunately, things happen in farming/ranching that are beyond your clients' control. Try providing them with a window of time for pickup, say from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on a given afternoon. The afternoons tend to be more flexible as mornings are filled up with chores, typically tending to livestock. I hope this helps.
First thing to consider is that you cannot control anyone else's actions but your own. However there are ways to try to make them understand your situation so they can made their choice of respecting your situation.
Communication is key. Explain to them what the consequences of anyone running late will be and how it will hurt your business. Also let them know how you cherish them as clients and would appreciate their support.
If this doesn't work, always have a plan B.