I’ve just had a good lesson in the value of getting back to prospective clients very quickly and then following through with focused action.

A few days ago, I realised I needed a new batch of business cards. The people who printed the last lot were hundreds of miles away and in any case, because of the way they work would not be able to do the job quickly enough for me. So I put out a few feelers locally: maybe because I was in the public service for some years I like to get more than one quote on a job!

First I made a phone call to a good friend’s cousin who, I had been assured, would ‘look after me’. Then I went to the website of a very slick franchised printing business I knew of with a local branch fifteen minutes drive from my home office, and filled out their online form for a quote.

I waited a couple of days, no reply from either of these – not even an email acknowledgement that my online enquiry had been received.

Then yesterday, with time running out to place an order, I spoke to a colleague in the same town, who had a nicely designed and printed card, found out who had arranged it, what he had paid (which was great value) and the name of the person to call – Monica at the local printing company, Mae Print. I phoned Monica at 10.45 am and she returned the call within the hour. Getting the job done in time would be no problem and the price was right. I had worked out what I wanted, so if I could email the content and my photo to her now, her designer could tackle the layout that afternoon.

A couple of hours later  the people with the swish international business and the fancy online quoting form got back to me in an email (i.e.2 days or so after my enquiry), with a higher quote (but not so outrageous that I wouldn’t have entertained if they’d got back to me earlier). The friend’s cousin still hasn’t called.

No prize for guessing who’s got the job.

In my view she deserves it – good quality work out in the marketplace, good referral from that client, rapid response, can do in time commitment, good price. No brainer.

But what had really got my attention was the rapid response to my initial call. Simple enough, but for me that’s a mark of a service-minded businessperson.

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