I have a question about how everyone handles calling a customer to tell them a delivery date will be delayed. I am a one man shop so I am only pointing the finger at myself on this one. I just made a call to a customer informing him the scheduled delivery date of this coming Monday will have to be changed to next Saturday. The delay is due to my being behind schedule and I told the customer as much. So far he is taking it better than I expected. I say so far because he has to check with the wife before confirming for next Saturday. As they say more will be revealed when he calls back, I know this is small in the big picture but that tunnel vision in a bad way is scary. My delay will of course delay payment and put pressure on paying my bills, which is on me.
Does anyone else get as stressed out as I do when faced with calling a customer about a delay? I think I slept about three hours last night and I think it is always worse thinking about the call then actually doing it.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor J:
Was this a deadline, and if so who set it? If it was them and you agreed to it, it's called late nights and weekends if possible. Wait until the job was ready to go out next time. Normally I give my customers a ballpark on time - six weeks, eight weeks or sooner if I'm slow. If it's done sooner they're happy to receive it sooner (most of the time). By doing deliveries this way you don't have to make the call - less stress. I know rush jobs come in and are a great money maker but only if you can try and keep them all happy.
Then there are other approaches. I often tell people that this thing will be around for a 100 years, and a week or so is nothing in the big picture. Especially since that is what it takes to get it right and deliver maximum value.
It wasn't so much a deadline as me getting behind on an install for a different job and not having time to complete the finishing on the job that was delayed. The contract says 6-8 weeks if I could have delivered Monday it would have been the seventh week from the signing. It was my mistake to think everything went so well the first day on a crown install that I would be done in two days, it took me three more days than planned. As mentioned I would rather be late and deliver a quality product then rush to get it done and no one is happy. I am small time to be sure but my reputation and word mean a lot.
If I have something that has to be done on time it will usually get done even if I am working 16 hour days seven days a week. I have done it and I'm sure I will do it again. I just came up from a seven week long seven days a week working spree and I ended up five weeks behind schedule. Iíve underestimated time and a lot of extras on a few different jobs.
I call the client, with plenty of time to spare and explain the situation. Usually there arenít any problems. Sometimes you need to sweet talk them and everything works out fine. They are always pleased with the end result and I always ask them if it was worth the extra waiting time. They always answer yes it was worth it.
I also give them updates through email and sometimes progress pictures if I have them. Don't fret too much and next time give them more notice. Even if you are wrong and pull it off they will appreciate it.
I called the customer Monday after the first day of a crown install went well and I assumed the next day I would be done with the crown. I would then have three days to complete the built-in unit and deliver it. It just didn't work out that they so in the future I will wait to set up delivery until the job is ready. At the very least no other job on going before the current one. Yes I should have called the customer the second day of the crown install to tell them of the delay.
Also, don't underestimate that they are usually excited that the big day is arriving when they will be receiving the wonderful product that they have been waiting for. After weeks and maybe a couple of months of waiting, sure they will be a little disappointed. One thing I found that works for me is, we schedule an approximate delivery date at the time of order, with the understanding that we will call seven days prior to delivery/install. This lets us get far enough into the project, so that when we do call, it usually happens.
By the way, if a delay of five days is going to put a financial strain on you, you probably didn't get enough deposit or progress money. At delivery you should only be awaiting part of your profit.