When is it okay to ask your client to wait?

I hate waiting. It’s an issue with me. When I have an appointment with a doctor at 1pm, I expect to be seen at 1pm.

That’s the time of my appointment. Don’t make me wait.

Show me some respect. I’m paying your rent and putting braces on your kid’s teeth. I have my own clients to see. I blocked out time to see you.

If my appointment is at 1:00, don’t see me at 1:30 or even 1:05.

Don’t make me wait.

When a doctor or other professional doesn’t see me on time, I’m up at the desk asking why. I let them know I’m busy and can’t wait. I’ve been known to threaten to send the doctor a bill for my waiting time. I’ve been know to leave and get another doctor.

As I said, I hate to wait.

I’ve been doing some conference calls this week. As usual, some of the participants get on the call after the scheduled time. I don’t wait for them. If we’re scheduled to start at 5pm, that’s when I start.

Why should I make the people who show up on time wait for the ones who don’t?

When you start on time, you show people that you are organized and disciplined and professional. It shows that you keep your promises and tells people that they can count on you.

Don’t be late. Don’t make people wait.

Some say being late makes you appear more important. Nah, it just makes you rude.

Something else. When a client is in the office with you and your get a call, I know you know better than to take that call. I know you instruct your staff that unless it is an emergency, when you have a client in the office you are not to be disturbed.

Please say you do that. Please say you know it’s rude to take calls when a client is in the office.

Okay, good.

But how about when you’re on the phone with a client? Have you ever said to a client, “Can you hold on for a minute?” so you can take another call? Even if it is to tell the new caller that you’ll call them back?

Maybe that doesn’t rise to the level of rudeness but if you think about it from the client’s perspective, it tells them that other people are more important than they are.

Even though it’s just for a minute. Even though they said it was okay.

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