Most of my work is from referrals. I'd bet that most of your work is as well and I believe this story is important for 2 reasons: 1) I want my referral source to feel confident in referring me again and 2) I want to change the perspective of my unhappy client.
You know what they say... an unhappy client tells 5 friends. Well those friends are more unlikely to buy your product or service than a person who isn't referred to you at all but happens upon you.
I was hired by a client to help them learn a piece of software for creating their own website. They wanted to get their site up quickly, with creative/content control and inexpensively. I spent an hour at their location helping them get familiar with general web design as well as the software. I felt that it went well and was looking forward to another session the next week until I received an email from them. Although they liked me, they felt that I didn't know the software well enough to be efficient or get their money's worth.
PPPfffttt!!! What?!?! This is new to me, that someone isn't pleased with my services. Really? Their reality was not correct! Or was it?
Swallowing my reality, perceptions and pride I decided not to reply to the email but to call the client directly. I told them that I understood their point of view, offered some explanations (tried not to give excuses) and offered them 1/2 hour of my time on the house.
Since then, we have had another session and have another scheduled. We are making significant progress on their website and hopefully I have earned their good review!
Even if I felt that the claim was not totally accurate, I wanted to fix their perception, earn their business and earn their referrals.
And to that client... thank you for a good learning experience!