We have a vendor/partner who does very good work. But they have a cultural habit that is resulting in my agency deciding to look for new vendors. They go silent.
When we run into a snag, we call or e-mail. They say they’ll check into it. I have no doubt that they’re doing something and trying to figure out the solution. But we don’t hear a word. We are left waiting. Our client is asking for updates and we have nothing to offer. We e-mail and e-mail or call and call, and finally we will get an update. I’m pretty sure (and yes, I have asked) that their culture says — focus on fixing the problem and then report the solution.
I want more than that. I want over communication. It’s not that I don’t want them to expend most of their energy on solving the snafu, but also I need them to recognize that I’m in the dark and how uncomfortable that is.
I want a daily update that gives me something to offer our client. I want to know what is working and what still has them stumped. I want anything but silence.
I think one of the most damaging things we can do is ignore a client. Because in essence, that’s what silence is.
When your clients are in crisis (or their own perceived crisis) how do you handle it? What do they want? How do you know it’s what they want? Are you guilty of keeping them in the dark?