To recap the opening premise for this series, when presenting in front of a “live studio audience,” I always feel the gaze of a sniper with a finger on the trigger if I pause or stumble, so I keep right on going and frequently skip cool stories or points. Also, after 4 WordCamps, I’ve yet to have a presentation without a technical issue. Each affected my notes or ability to go to the next slide remotely.
This is Slide 4 from WordCamp Orlando 2014: Being More Profitable in WordPress.
At WordCamp Tampa a couple of months ago, my friend, John Hawkins from 9seeds, told us a story about when he failed a client by solving a problem over the course of a couple hours early one morning. His transparency reminded me of a couple of failures I’d had over the years.
A client had emailed the company early one morning that something was down, so John set to the task of diagnosing and fixing it, and then he’d be the hero when he replied and CC’d everyone that he’d fixed the problem with no further questions or issues… but the client didn’t know anyone was working on the problem.
“Did you see the email from Bill and Ted this morning?” I like to make up names.
“Yeah! I’m on it now. Almost done!” he said, excited to be on his game.
“Do Bill and Ted know you’re working on it?”
I’ve been there!
Hopefully none of us have done that more than once and I did it so long ago, I don’t remember when it was or who it involved. My general rule of thumb is that if I can fix it within 5 minutes, I either fix it and email or email that I’m fixing it and to try again in 5 minutes.
I’ve probably failed on that second scenario more times than a lab rat gets shocked, but that’s because I really like to learn my lessons.
Strive for too much communication
You will fail. It’s okay, though, really! You see, there’s no such thing as too much communication from a service provider to a client when they’ve paid money and expect services or a product soon. When I have a 10-week lead time, around a week or two out, I start communicating. I’ve found that with that much time, sometimes goals change, themes have been released, or they have an entirely new vision.
As soon as I have a header/menu/homepage area done, I take a screenshot and send it as a progress report. If I put the dev site up in staging and send a link too early, that opens the door to 50 notes about what isn’t done, but you’re very well aware of that.
Nice little updates go a long way. So does a reply like, “I LOVE where this is going and I’m excited to see more!” As a service provider, that just makes my day and sometimes my week.
My last few projects have gone really, really well because of ultra communication. You should try it.