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Interesting scenarios! Perhaps a middle of the road approach? Saying you are happy to sign them up, but being uber clear about expectations?
In many ways you're like insurance (in a good way). e.g., the clients that sign up for flight monitoring might not have any issues with their flights, but they appreciate you and your concierges giving them a heads up on things. I know that these particular scenarios were different in that they were dealing with a specific travel issue. But you having their back might have given them more comfort that someone they trust is handling the situation to the best of his ability. It calls for a more nuanced approach in that you don't want to overpromise. But even by you being there and assuring them that nothing else could be done could have provided value to them.
Just m $0.02. These types of situations are tough.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on In the Trenches: How to Sell Ourselves
You guys are a great company and really personable! Happy that clients appreciate the value you provide. :-)
7 months, 4 weeks ago on In the Trenches: Celebrating Our Success
I agree with cedarglen. By being open and honest while keeping your clients' concerns at the forefront, you created an opportunity for them to to bind closer to you
8 months, 2 weeks ago on In the Trenches: Being Honest With Clients
Maybe have everyone sign up for a Gmail account for the business so that you can use Google Apps? Not sure how practical that would be.
1 year, 5 months ago on In the Trenches: When Email Lags
First I think it's totally awesome that you view this as a company-wide problem. As someone who works in Bigcorp where a common response is to pin blame on one person, it's admirable that you recognise your employee's schedule is full and take responsibility for solving the problem. (Something I am really committed to as I grow my startup).
But I digress.
Perhaps divide your list into 2? Those accounts that will be time consuming and difficult to collect and those that will require less effort. There are a number of reasons why things go unpaid. Some people/companies are true shirkers or have fallen on hard financial times and are juggling. Those are the hardest and deserving of a third party collector. Some have simply forgotten, allowed the payment to slip off of their radar. Simple reminder usually remedies the problem.
1 year, 5 months ago on In the Trenches: Prioritizing Tasks, Getting Paid
Maybe in the e-mail introducing the concierge, list the services that are provided with flight monitoring with a line saying that any additional services will require an extra fee? This might encourage people to do the "easy" things themselves (e.g., make flight changes) and only come to you with the complicated stuff.
1 year, 6 months ago on In the Trenches: Changing Our Services
Thanks for this reminder. It's always terrifying and icky when I make mistakes. Especially given my business is so client-oriented. This is a great reminder of the importance of biting the bullet and owning up to one's mistakes. After all, we're all human and it's how we deal with things that counts.
1 year, 7 months ago on In the Trenches: Taking Responsibility
Perhaps make it more explicit on your contact page? For example, you could add a statement in bold and yellow that e-mails to the non-urgent e-mail address will be responded to on the next business day.
1 year, 8 months ago on In the Trenches: Business Hours Revisited
I agree with the idea of creating a separate brand identity should the extra income you would receive by doing so justify it. You have a brand identity that is doing well; and it seems a number of people rather (a) appreciate that you don't take yourself too seriously, or (b) don't care because you're giving them great service. At the end of the day, the quality of your work speaks for itself. True, branding and identity play a large role in this, but it's really hard to argue against stellar service.
1 year, 8 months ago on In the Trenches: Should We Drop the ‘Dork’?