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In Praise of the Patient Customer

As a small business owner I am just going to put this out here:  There is nobody better than a patient client.
 
Yes, we can talk what we want about well-paying clients and easy-work clients and the like.  But there is nothing better than a patient client.  I’m not talking about somebody that will wait for weeks for resolution of their issue – but of the person that realizes that it may take some time to determine the resolution of an issue, and in addition, that their issue has to be resolved in a time flow with everyone else’s resolutions.
 
The Internet is so much more complicated than it was 5 years ago, or 10 years ago, or even 2 years ago.  Web sites touch so many other online components, from Google to the domain registrar to spam filters to payment gateways to software registries to… well, you get the gist.  A problem on your web site may not be actually your web site.  Troubleshooting can take time.    It’s just like real life! 
 
But on the Internet, the world is focused on immediate gratification.  And anything not immediate?  It stands out.
 
We are clients as well as providers.  And we know something from both sides of that relationship:  patience is appreciated.  So is judgment – knowing when something is urgent, and knowing when something needs to be worked out.   Server downtime is urgent.  Lack of functionality usually is too.  Changing an image, or adding a page, shouldn’t be.  And if it needs done within the hour, that information should have been provided earlier.  We understand that as clients.  We understand that as providers, also.
 
Patience is a virtue that does not stand out often in the moment, in the short-term.  It can be in short supply anywhere you go in life, and it sometimes seems that it is in sharp decline at this time.  And the Internet?  Well, if you go to almost any forum on any thing in the world, you will see posts that demonstrate impatience.  Sometimes lots of them.
 
We’re not always patient ourselves.  We get it.  It happens.
 
But it seems like it is time to tell people that we appreciate their patience… to reward the emotional skill set and wisdom that goes with being patient.  Because I know, if I have time to work on one project today that is of equal priority, and it is between a patient person’s project and that of a chronically impatient person, I am making the decision to do the project for those who demonstrate patience.  Not as punishment for the chronically impatient, but as a reward for the wisdom of patience.
 

And I assume that’s the way most folks operate. Even if impatience pays off in the very short-term, it is a losing strategy in the long-term. Think of the favorite people in your life, the ones that you will do anything for… are any of them really impatient?

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Kessler Freedman, Inc.