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How would you frame this message?

Author KarenSB
#1 | Posted: 20 May 2009 12:18 
If the business world is an ocean, my organization is a minnow, and we have a whale of a client.

Said client has received an invoice from us that is not even the size of a krill. Now a "request" has come in....they expect us to break said invoice into three installments and bill against a credit card. And, by the way, they are already 60+ days late.


Not only does my (not-for-profit) then lose a percentage to cc processing, we have added labor and burden to process this three times.

I've already handled this, although I'm still quite irritated (as I'm sure you can tell!).

My question is this: How would you have framed your response if you had been in my snorkel gear?

Author ayaree
#2 | Posted: 29 May 2009 20:53 
Karen, I saw this a couple of days ago, and I still don't know how to answer - probably because I expect you would have handled it with an expert touch, and there is some "why bother?" to it for me. I also just don't know what kinds of concessions you can make, what kind of negotiating you can do with your particular hockey stick on the ice. And those need not be heard.

I don't know if this was a written or a verbal medium (or both), but I would hazard that what would have been needed is a response to client that showers with comfort; then makes an incision with necessities (and there is a greatness to the incision) ; and closes with post-operative comfort. [< I recognize that you're looking for an alternative option to cover this invoice; what we have delivered to you is X and this means that Y is now different and better for you from your vantage point and our fee of [blank] in Z format is actually accurately suited to this context, and I see that your AB is looking so great in CDEF ways as well.>]

And get paid.

You get paid for work completed.

I have had late bills placed on me a few times as a requirement (varying levels of "clue" for me), like after someone leaves. Different context from what you are describing, but I have exercised a little bit of influence skills at getting paid for something. Bill Collector? No, and I would not last in such a role, and many others.

I have also cussed a few times in the last month in reaction to things I saw as irksome (but I have probably demonstrated I am not perfect enough already).

Probably just offering some consolation response at best to you. :)


Author KarenSB
#3 | Posted: 1 Jun 2009 05:24 
Hi Ayaree,

Just a simple attempt on my part to put on my 'ayaree-esque' big girl pants and try to get a discussion going here. Alas, it may never happen! (Well, at least the bit AFTER the big girl pants).

This situation is customer service...and management...at so many levels. Just a little blip on my 'frustration and rancor' screen, and I figured...hey, let's throw it out there and see what happens. As you saw, and as you've experienced, not a whole lot of anything happened! Oh well.

I could have rolled over and let Whale dictate our business policies and procedures. And then they would dictate until the very end, and we would always be frustrated.

I could have flexed my minnow muscles, which would have given cause to Whale to find a new minnow to replace us.

I could have foisted this off onto a worker bee, then let the chips fall where they may (i.e., throwing worker bee under the bus).

I could have had a conversation with the Whale, explained only what I was willing to let them know about the situation, and negotiated a compromise that works for all parties.

I went for throwing worker bee under the bus. He wasn't working out for us very anyway and now our office environment will be happier in the long run, so I'm ok with it.


(NOT!!!!! Just seeing if anyone is awake out there. Honestly...no one is losing a job over this, and no one got thrown under the bus)

Author ayaree
#4 | Posted: 1 Jun 2009 19:48 
Ha ha, I think you mean Ayaree-esque in the sense of Discussion Creator - or Foster Parent of Discussion? And you say Big Girl Pants, but when I come back and find my writing once in a while, I think, "haven't grown into Big Boy pants yet."

Maybe it was the metaphors? (Getting back to Ayaree-esque.)

I think there are periods during which we can see conversations flourish and then more arid periods.

I find that what works well is a case of a participant writing here about what they are specifically looking for. We've seen a wealth of info from various people who've navigated through these pages. People respond with ideas when they see active participation. I guess you are my California counterpart. (I got the state correct, yes?)

I suspect that what took place with the Whale client is that you negotiated something - or something took place that is not listed. The others don't sound like you!

Author KarenSB
#5 | Posted: 2 Jun 2009 05:43 
Foster Parent of Discussion! That is precious!! An FPD...heh...I think I'll be using this phrase repeatedly.

You're right, of course...it was negotiation. But yesterday I discovered that while I thought I was fair to middlin in that fine art, I was only fooling me. I have met the Master (a retired insurance man no less), and hope to continue to learn from him through osmosis.

I flipped a coin for the second half of my projected lifeline, knowing only that the sea must be involved. Heads came up Hawaii, so here I am in South Florida. Go figure. What's that saying? Man proposes, God disposes. (But at least he agreed with me that snow and 30 below is no longer an option.)

And if I could imbibe in a bit of bourbon right now, I'd be raising my glass to toast your inability to grow into big boy pants. We absolutely bring a different perspective and different passion to the stodgy old Boys' Club, and our voice is a necessity.


Author ayaree
#6 | Posted: 8 Jun 2009 19:10 
Well, I guess there is an abiding shyness or some other equation that is not lining up responses (or nibbling on a hook - that will not slay the fish).

I'm a little (not immensely) surprised there were not other replies to this topic about having to face customer requests tied to revenue that are either unreasonable or not quite "proportionate" to suit a service provider's business needs. There has got to be other people in the American context that have been encountering this. I have had a bit of a slow-down in my ability to deliver on certain things because there was backlog in the department I was drawing upon in my Canadian context. So the other side of executing something would be the customer "paying" side. People ought to be strapped with additional work and customers ought to be pushing for more or better - warranted or not. Scenarios like yours must abound, and we are just not seeing them from others for some reason.

But that can change. It may just take another while, and the interest level could appear in a different topic.


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