Posted: Wed 21st Dec 2022
Will you be FUCD by your clients this Christmas?
You can’t say that!!
Yes, I can. I’m talking about clients that ask suppliers to hit pre-Christmas break deadlines that are simply not realistic.
There I said it.
You know the clients (we all have them):
"Can we have that job completed/delivered before Christmas?"
Just to warn you all, this year's FUCD deadline is Friday 23 December. But jobs that would, on normal timelines, be delivered/completed sometime in January now, for some mysterious festive reason, need to be delivered before the Christmas break. Why?
Yes, Mr/Mrs/Ms Client, it would be great to clear the decks before you disappear to enjoy the eggnog, but asking your supplier to jump through hoops is unnecessary, unfair and frankly unprofessional.
Many years ago, I was working on a job that HAD TO be delivered by a certain date, which meant it was terribly rushed. Unsurprisingly when it was delivered by the rush date it was full of errors.
The client, whilst disappointed, told us "don’t worry, you can redo it for next week!!"
What? After all of that rushing about to deliver by the ‘deadline’? This taught me the very valuable business lesson, that the vast majority of client deadlines are simply random dates set by the client to fit their own personal agenda, rather than a true deadline.
Most deadlines are not real. Yes, of course, there are certain ones that are very important, but most deadlines are not real.
What are the options if the client wants you to be FUCD?
Be honest and tell them you can’t work to that deadline, and that the job will be delivered in the usual timeframe
As they say 'done is sometimes better than good', and deliver to the bare minimum (obviously don’t let this become the norm)
Jump through hoops, mess up all of your own planning and prove your immense skills as a contortionist and deliver to the ridiculous pre-Christmas deadline that’s been set (hint - the client won't appreciate it afterwards and will simply set new stupid deadlines in future)
In my opinion, I'd go with Option 1. You'll be amazed how many clients simply say 'ok, no problem' and accept your normal delivery timeline.
The longer-term solution would be to pre-empt this and explain to all of your client base, probably sometime in October or November, what your working hours and delivery/supply times are going to be over the Christmas period. That way you are training your clients and managing expectations, and will hopefully avoid being FUCD.
And one final thought; if you are a client and are considering asking your supplier this week or next, unnecessarily and unfairly to deliver something ‘before we break for Christmas’, please think again.
Do you REALLY need it before Christmas? Is it really worth the upset and heartache it is going to cause your supplier?
This really is all about good time management, but that’s another article in itself!