Out of sight, out of mind
Hainan – Perth 26th October 2010
This saying is very much applicable in our business, probably in any business. It applies at many different levels. I am on my way back after having spent two days “mending ties” with our client in Hainan after our relationship had come under some tension as we had not been able to meet nor deliver to expectations in recent months for a variety of reasons. Add the language (lost in translation) barrier in the mix and you can get an idea of a client feeling left in the cold. Of course from our point of view we have never left him in the cold but at times sheer physical presence and re-assuring words go a long way to give peace of mind. A stressed client easily becomes unreasonable and the ensuing domino effect is that we get frustrated as a result.
One of our big challenges with overseas projects is to keep vigilant when it comes to our relationship (and communications) with the client. We can’t always be on site or meeting the client/ project team, so we need to find ways to keep the communication going (e-mail, phone-calls, tele-conferencing, document issues, etc). So out of sight becomes out of mind and the feeling is that we are not providing the proper support, whether true or not. Unfortunately when we are faced with busy times project wise with many deadlines and clients asking for our attention, some skip below the radar at times. When our team capacity is under pressure we tend to respond to clients who shout hardest! By making extra time available this trip and delivering beyond expectation we have at least restored the client’s faith in us.
Out of sight and out of mind also applies very much when we do our project acquisition. We cannot expect (nor assume) that our clients always will call us first for new projects. Those fresh in their minds usually get the attention, even if you have been doing business with them in the past.