Friday, October 05, 2007

Making Decisions That's Best for Your Writing Business

Editors, like companies I do business with, earn loyalty from me if they treat me with respect, first presenting a negotiable contract (or better yet, a perfect contract from the start); assistance if I have questions about the assignment, and finally, honoring the terms of our contract by paying me on time.
Likewise, I hope I earn loyalty with them by delivering good customer service, fast responses to their questions and clean copy.
People who are in business for themselves know we have to deliver good customer service to get repeat business.
And if we don't, word will eventually spread and our work will dry up.
But sometimes, good customer service isn't enough. Sometimes something just isn't working right or a business relationship just isn't clicking.
This happens with editors and with companies we do business with to run our businesses.
Take for example, my relationship with my now former cell phone company. We've had Verizon since 2004, when my mom had a heart attack and I had to switch from Sprint because our cell phones wouldn't work at all when we spent weekends on the lake.
Verizon worked on the lake, but we quickly realized it didn't work here at the lake house in the mountains.
No worries then, we had a land line in case she needed to reach us while we were home.
But that became a big problem when we moved, especially when my husband was spending days at a time away from the house. We could have used no minutes and free long distance had he been able to call me from his cell phone, but I couldn't get a signal if I was here.
For my business, there's been many times I needed to be online (we have a horrible dial up service here while I wait for satellite installation) while on the phone, but couldn't be unless I paid for yet another land line.
I had been happy with Verizon's service for years and really didn't want to change providers.
I called Verizon, hoping they could do something, but after a conversation with a nice gentleman, who did everything he could think of to help us improve our service, he finally admitted that there was nothing more the company could do.
"We hate to lose you, but really, you probably would be better off with a company who has a tower that's closer to your location," he told me.
They continued to earn my loyalty even as they were telling me to switch providers. I appreciated their honesty.
Getting good customer service reminds me of how important it is for me to give it as well.


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