Client Service, Provided Last – Part 1 Charging Favourably

All Clients including yourself have equal rights to the type of services you engage.
Everyone expects to be treated special and individualistically.
It doesn’t matter what colour of skin, religion, location etc.

That being said, after a live TV interview, I was caught in a discussion between providers of services and users on whether to regulate “Quality Management Services” in accordance to professional standards.

Its shocking to know that Private Standard Bearers do not wish to form a Malaysian Professional Body (or there is a Body but its very, very quiet) that ISO’s the ISO providers. There’s professional bodies for accountants, lawyers and doctors.

Reasons given were:

1. Let the market determine – Demand vs. Supply;
2. The few at the top are already monopolising the specialised area;
3. Why should International Standard lead auditors be caught in a bin where the fees can go up due to legal issues, e.g. auditors are afraid of being sued for not helping potential clients to be certified after being paid for their man-days (I call it main-days) value and get nothing.

My answer is:

How can an International Standard lead auditors and certification bodies certify others for standardising their works when they are all of different standards.

Shortly thereafter, the Government tried to do something but it never went further.

Case swept under the carpet.

Without a guideline to charge, and using whatever experiences I have gained from working in an international bank, large companies, small-medium audit firms and collaboration with a premier university, I set my own rules which I will bend from time to time.

I shall explain in this part 1, and I will open up discussion why business fails through organising to survive in part 2 from standardisation and financial perspectives. There’s a part 3 about maintaining long-term relationship with clients but I think I will put a hold on that one until when I have the time to write more.

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Money, is unfortunately the determinant to having better lifestyle and living conditions but not necessary the road to happiness. It is also the carrot for people to work for others. There is a saying, “No money, no talk” or no honey in some instances.

money

I recently approved for an almost 50% rebate to a potential new client because in my clear conscience, its right to do so.

There are 3 charge rates  that I have created and charge my clients accordingly:

1. Affordable;
2. Premium;
3. Rebates.

Affordable
– is the standard fee I charge all normal, cruise-control businesses with all the hiccups identified. My job, is to meet the client’s needs and requirements. Getting what they want and deliver in accordance to what had been discussed and updated. Sounds simple? Not so.

Affordable, I tend to do extra when after awhile I understand situations have changed. I still meet my own goals for my own firm. We want the best results for our clients.

Premium
– long-term clients often will renew contracts with exclusive clauses. “Only for us” or offer management or director’s posts.

Its very situational and honestly speaking, even though I will always treat all cases – special and individualistically – I will explain the limitation as to “Only for us” up to a certain period or specific conditions where we look into win-win-win situation. Otherwise, we rather lose the Premium even for 20% of new product sales.

As for management or director’s posts, I’m definitely not interested and if any one in MIENS are involved in the client’s businesses, we will then have to discuss tactfully as I love our independence and objectivity in handling cases.

Rebates
– the whole reason to write this article was because of a rebate.

Because of the economic downturn and increasing cost, by right – we should increase our costs. But a lot of good people – are taking a hard turn.

The only “gift” for the community to get them what they want without burning ourselves out.

Recently – I have approved our 2nd rebate of almost 50% from the client’s affordable fees. We cannot do for free because it will not be fair to our earlier clients.

There’s 2 full-time staff, aging father-daughter (think the grand-daughter is somewhere) and 2 part-time staff. Except for two machines in a 5-process in a flowchart, the rest is done with hands.

Fun question: What business involves rice-husk, sand, salt and an egg?

How much can you charge, when:

1. The operation is already very efficient (unless there’s thousands of customers);
2. You don’t need space-science to do the business, all you need is hard-work;
3. The people is sincere to improve for their own customers’ food safety, they are not doing for marketing expansion purposes. In fact, they don’t want to even label their boxes with approved and certified logos. They want to remain unidentified.

In 10 minutes, you can see the entire setup and summarise what you can do for them. But of course, they need real help and understanding. Not more documents, more paperwork that leads to longer working hours.

potentialclient1

When all parties are happy with the agreed charges with amendments, terms and conditions, the only client service can occur.

If I give hefty premium or large rebates but one party still thinking about past negotiations, then no amount of client service will make either one party happy.

Best not to start at all.

Of course, then if the owner after negotiation – come out from the automatic door-garage with a Mercedes-Benz, that— itself, is a different story! (Has happened)

But honestly speaking when we are happy with the end result of any fruitful negotiation, we hardly look back. 🙂

You win some, you lose some.
Be Happy.

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