Occasionally, there are going to be those clients, customers, colleagues, or vendors who ask us for something special. They may be asking for special treatment—or it just may be that circumstances have influenced their request. For a small home business, we can either be in a good, flexible position to adjust to unusual requests, or it might ask more of us than we are in a position to give…
For many small businesses, how we cope with and handle special requests can be the cornerstone of our reputations. For others of us, it happens so seldom that it might really catch us off guard. The most important thing to keep in mind is that decisions seldom need to be made in crisis or “on the fly”—you can take a little time to sort our and problem solve around what is being asked of you and your business.
Make sure you gather all the facts and look at the request from both the customer’s or client’s point of view, and keep in mind what is best for you and your home business in both the long and short term. Consider alternatives, and weigh out what the cost will be to you in labor, time, and resources. Even if you decide that you cannot grant the unusual request, the fact that you have put care and concern into evaluating the situation will not go unnoticed. The “requestor” will appreciate that you have taken things seriously and weighed out all of the options. You might also discover a solution that had not been thought of previously or be able to make a referral or direct the customer or client in the direction of someone who can grant the unusual request.
I think it also helps if we have some sensitivity and even if we cannot grant an unusual request, the fact that we use tact and consideration and neither scoff or laugh (or react negatively in other ways) can help to maintain the relationship regardless.