Ok, Who Fancies a Punch Up?

Last Updated Sep 11, 2008 2:27 AM EDT

No-one really likes a confrontation, least of all us chirpy independent types.

However, it's inevitable that now and again something happens that makes us mad. How we handle these confrontations, particularly when they involve our clients and customers, is what I'd like to explore.

Over the generations we've been told that the customer is always right. Sure, and that bloke in Nigeria really has $17m ready to transfer straight into your bank account.

It's not right to fail to pay invoices; to shift the goalposts on projects; to forget a meeting; to ignore phone calls and messages. No. No. No. That's not right at all.

And it bugs us doesn't it?

It's tricky, though, because complaining or criticising our clients is something we must do with great caution. Tearing a strip off a member of the Finance Department may give us a momentary buzz and may accelerate payment of our invoice, but what does it do for our future prosperity when the CEO and CFO have a little chat about our outburst in their weekly meeting?

Speaking up about failings and mistakes is one thing; jeopardising income is another.

We must pick our fights very carefully and be prepared to bite our lip now and again.

On the assumption the potential fight involves a client we want to retain, keep a detailed note of the event(s) and when the time is right --- maybe at contract renewal time for example --- discuss ways the relationship can be improved.

Our feedback could help our clients become better clients and in the process we may just find some areas where our own procedures need a tweak.

What are your thoughts, have you been a little heavy handed recently?

Spill the beans and post a comment.

  • Robert Gerrish

    Robert Gerrish is a coach, author and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (www.flyingsolo.com.au), the Australian online community for solo business owners.