This morning, I was part of a fairly normal client meeting discussing potential new work. The client started to discuss about what constitutes a good and bad service in relation to web development. In a similar fashion to lots of customers I encounter, they all have their own horror story of working with another developer or agency. This client was no different in that respect. The client had issues with work not being completed and promised missed deadlines in the past.
Since starting my own company I have been stupidly strict on not only providing accurate deadlines, but also meeting those. My project planner is full of dates when stages of a project needs to completed, when I need item X from a certain customer to complete a further job etc. It’s frankly bordering on Gantt Chart.
I’ve worked a quite frequently with this particular client and completed several jobs to deadlines as I promised. The client is happy and has no complaints. Today however, the client did say one interesting point that I hadn’t considered previously, leaving me slightly surprised.
The client said I should upsell the fact that I meet deadlines, because that alone is so rare in the industry in which I work in. Personally, It seems rather odd to upsell the fact (or “add value”) that jobs are completed on time, as promised but in retrospect, it does follow on. Surely it’s a given? Why set deadlines you cannot meet?
The following applies to any business really. It’s less than surprising that completing tasks to a promised deadline results in happy customers. On the flip side, I can empathise with customers who have been let down. I even get fairly frustrated when Amazon miss a delivery date.
Going forwards, I’ll be adding in the fact that I do meet deadlines and basically complete jobs on time.
Granted, everything written above sounds completely academic and something any sane person would expect. This most certainly is not the case.
It does however, highlight how important the whole “soft side” (as I like call it) to freelancing really is. So items such as project management, setting realistic deadlines and (most importantly) managing expectations. I cannot emphasise how important the latter point is and is a topic that could easily constitute a dedicated post.
End my random thought of the day 🙂