I recently contacted several painters to repaint my bathroom.

One I chose not to contact because of what I interpreted as unprofessional behavior online.

Several others never called back.

Two came to give me quotes; the first painter came by quickly. He even sent me a quote via email later that same day.

More than a week passed before the second painter came by to measure my bathroom for his quote. I waited patiently, expecting that once he stopped by, it would only be a day or two before his quote came in.

Unfortunately, another week passed after his visit and still no quote.

Turnaround Times and Customer Service

I had decided to go with the first painter before the quote from the second painter arrived. I did finally get the second painter’s quote – 8 days later. At that point, his quote was irrelevant because the lapse of time had already caused me choose the first painter.

I have no doubt they’re both excellent painters. I am sure they’re both excellent at their jobs. But as a customer, I’m typically inclined to work with the person who seems to actually WANT my business. In a customer service scenario, it’s hard to imagine the person who seemingly could not be bothered to put in a bid will be in a rush to help solve any problems that arrive. While this may not be the case, it’s important to remember how your actions can affect your customer’s perspective.

As small business owners, we’re all extremely busy. When a new lead comes in, it can be tempting to let them wait while we finish other projects. To be fair, a new potential client should not precede an existing deadline or commitment. Deadlines are important. However, that does not mean that potential customers can – or will – wait forever. Turnaround times are important in every way. Without being mindful of our customers’ expected response times, we all may find ourselves with less new business.

How do you manage turn around times? What do you do if you might miss a deadline?

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