I see too often company websites that state ‘call us anytime’ or ‘we’re available 24/7’. Every time it makes me cringe. Part of me wonders if these people really are super humans that will stick a smile on their faces when that client for next January calls them at 3am about the colour of chaircover bows or whether really it’s all just a sales pitch and they have no intention of actually answering that phone?
Now please don’t misunderstand me, being flexible and available and understanding to busy clients is a very important part of running a successful wedding planning business but that doesn’t mean that we’re doormats nor that we’re not entitled to a personal life. One of the things I find is that it’s better to be realistic and honest and setting boundaries and working hours is all part of that. If I promise something I generally deliver and if I say that I’m available 24/7, then I’d really need to be. And I’m not up for that; my business is key to me but not to the detriment of my family, friends and general health. Setting working hours that clients are aware of is not a bad thing – it informs them that you’re a professional and deserve to be treated as such. After all they wouldn’t expect their bank manager or lawyer to be available for routine appointments 24/7.
So don’t feel bad (even in these harsh times where we are all working super hard) to switch the voicemail on and return calls within your working hours.
Very refreshing to read this when I’m still pretty new to being self-employed and trying to keep my clients happy! I’ve found when I start off by getting back to clients out of my normal hours or as soon as they contact me (when it’s not something urgent) then they continue to expect it; setting the boundaries is very important early on and I’ve learnt it the hard way. I’ve also just switched off my email on my iPhone as I found myself checking my email in bed at night…not helpful to a good nights sleep!