Small Business Trends has an excellent item by Jack Yoest entitled, ‘Late Is Rude and Bad for Small Business‘. Apparently President George W. Bush is one person who often uses the phrase ‘Late Is Rude’. He is so right. It certainly can be a sign of disrespect to whomever you are meeting.
The article is all about when you start doing something. The same concern for time is often important when you stop doing something. Perhaps the person you are involved with has another engagement to get to. Perhaps someone else is waiting to use the ‘equipment’ you’re using, whether it be a conference room or an exercise machine.
The most important end time of all is the time when you told the customer that the product would arrive or the new system would be running successfully. Many suppliers seem unaware of how important time of delivery is to most customers. It’s a very visible sign of the total quality being delivered. Even when there are no adverse economic effects of a late delivery, it’s still late. The customer is waiting. It’s even worse if they’ve not had news on why the delay is occurring.
That’s the downside of time associated with a product or service. If you deliver late, then the product/service is just that much less satisfactory than it might have been. There can be an upside to time. You can turn it into a distinguishing mark of your products and services. Delivering on time or even ahead of time is so unusual that you’ll really stand out from the crowd. I remember a very rich Norwegian lawyer friend of mine. He was very successful in the early days of the North Sea gas finds. On most issues he had a 48-hour turn round policy. Whoever heard of a lawyer who reliably delivers answers and documents within two days? What a great USP (Unique Selling Proposition). He left the competition trailing in the dust. It certainly worked very well for him.
In some ways, it’s one of the easiest features that you can build into a product. Yet what an enormous benefit it will be to many customers. There are no worries that it may arrive late, when you buy from ABC Corp. All it takes is some planning and making sure that the resources are there to do the job on time. Most importantly the whole team must have the enthusiasm and commitment to deliver the product on or before the promised time.
So don’t just be on time to avoid being rude. Be on time because it’s one of the easiest ways of delivering an important benefit to your customers. If you do, they’ll probably tell their friends about it too. So it’s a win/win situation.
Related: Time Is Critical