Disease is visiting my family.
I’ll spare you the details; it’s life and we all must live it.
The question is, do our private lives concern our customers?
Fonnie and I differ on so little, it’s significant when we retain opposing views.
Hers is that family affairs have nothing to do with business.
Mine is that clients appreciate candour and humanity.
Fonnie is wise.
My business is successful.
So who’s right?
Our chronic debate has covered many scenarios. See what you think.
Gone to the Dogs?
If I missed a client phone call due to walking my dogs, I used to apologise and say as much.
Fonnie argued that my unsolicited admission would win few votes, especially from those toiling daily in windowless rooms.
I recognised the difference between truth and blurting and am now less forthcoming.
Last week I had to cancel a client meeting due to a pivotal family medical appointment.
Against Fonnie’s advice, I told two client representatives in broad terms what was going on.
One was sympathetic; the other annoyed.
Truth or Dare
I’m fully booked for the next fortnight. Yet it’s highly likely my family will need me during this time.
If they do, I’ll put them first.
But what, if anything, should I tell clients whose deadlines I miss?
Have you ever phoned a supplier to be told, ‘He’s in a meeting’ and you know he isn’t?
I’ve even heard (disgruntled) secretaries say, ‘He’s gone to the pub’ or ‘He’s on the toilet’.
I see here that discretion is preferred.
But if someone I seek is tending a loved one, I’d much rather be told than deceived.
In my book, to understand is to forgive.
On the other hand, some people fling family matters in your face like a smoke screen.
When I advised our architect that her $3000 laundry plans (developed over weeks) made no provision for our washing machine, she promptly cited a miscarriage and stopped taking my calls.
Then there’s grey areas. For instance, does a snake bite wield less gravitas on a teen than a toddler if they’re both your kids?
I won’t lie to clients.
But I don’t wish to bore them with matters they consider irrelevant.
I feel my approach should be situational, but I’m crap at reading situations.
I therefore rely on your views to illuminate this picture.
What do you think of life, death, customers, family, the universe and all that?
Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire