Customer from Hell: The Meeting Misser

 

What do you do when you have a customer – either an internal or external customer – who chronically misses meetings with you? Oh, sure, he (she) always has a good excuse, but it doesn’t seem fair that he should show such disrespect for the value of your time. It’s a tough call. Do you just deal with it and write it off as a cost of doing business with him? Or do you make a point to scold him, letting him know that your time is valuable too? The second choice is pretty much never the right answer. Although it might make you feel good at the moment, it rarely, if ever, leads to a good outcome.

There are a number of reasons that someone might miss a meeting with you. In his hectic schedule, he might have simply forgotten. He may have double booked, or written the time down wrong. Something may have come up at the last minute. You’re best off to give him the benefit of the doubt, and not to take it personally. Here’s something you can try, though, to minimize missed meetings:

Half a day before each meeting, call or send an email to just confirm that the meeting is still taking place. You can be direct and say “I just wanted to confirm our meeting;” or you could do it in a more subtle manner, by saying something like, “I just wanted to check – is there anything additional you’ll be needing from me at our 1:00 meeting?”

This approach works more times than it doesn’t, and if nothing else, it tells your customer that he’s on your mind – which is never a bad message to send.

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