In our work as professional online sellers, my husband, Jared, and I occasionally encounter difficult clients.
Sometimes they send several messages to our social media channels outside of our office hours. Or they’ll threaten to leave a negative rating because of an odd hiccup in our services.
And don’t even get me started on the irate customers who take out their anger over courier delays on us, the store owners.
Our mentors have warned us that we will encounter such challenges. When we do, we are supposed to accept that they are part of the job, and aim to do better moving forward.
Over time, we have developed strategies to make difficult interactions less stressful. Automated responses are a great tool to minimize the mental energy required to respond to hundreds of inquiries, so I’ve built several templates to help make answering them easier. I’m also slowly learning not to take other people’s comments personally, and to separate constructive criticism from insults. Admittedly, though, I have a long way to go due to my anxiety disorder.
Jared and I both are persons with disability doing our best to survive in the cutthroat world of business. He has hemophilia and a seizure disorder, and I deal with depression and anxiety daily. As open as we are to our clients and on social media about our respective health conditions, we also feel it is unfair for us to beg for special treatment. The business standards that apply to all entrepreneurs apply to us, too. If we feel that we have disappointed a client, we aim to make up for it any way we can.
We only ask for one thing: for people to respect our office hours.
Even online entrepreneurs with flexible schedules need time off to disengage, unwind, and attend to family duties. Often, the only free time we have is in the early morning and late evening.
A single work-related notification during these hours is enough to send me into a full-blown anxiety attack. I become overstimulated and bogged down with all sorts of worries — more so if Jared is debilitated, or worse, we are both limited in terms of what we can do for the business.
I may fall into a rabbit hole of rumination and wonder, “Are we really competent enough to do business? Will this client become angry if we don’t reply? Will we lose this client? Can the business afford to lose this client? What if the business fails?”
This agonizing always turns out to be a black hole. Once I’m stuck in it, there’s no getting out. All of our productivity disappears.
I don’t mind if clients express excitement upon receiving their items. I understand because I also buy things online. It’s one of the reasons I started an online business in the first place. Still, there are ways clients can express excitement without pressuring sellers. One of my personal favorites is: “I’m so sorry to bother you, I was just so excited!” As a seller, it makes me feel so appreciated.
As a rule of thumb, we are taught to be kind and considerate to others, because you never know what they are going through. Small acts of kindness are a big deal for the PWD entrepreneur. To us, it may even mean the difference between a triumph and a breakdown.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.