Why Do Some Businesses Need To Be Reminded Who The Customer Is?
With such a competitive commercial world in which our businesses compete in every day, customer service and user experience are at the final frontier of differentiation today. Service with a smile that makes people feel good about a transaction, big or small, always leads to a favourable outcome for all parties involved.
It’s a steadfast rule that has been around since barter began.
So, why are some businesses getting it so wrong?
Look, we all get ‘that customer’ who nags, or is prickly to deal with, who is overenthusiastic or completely irrational. But the reality is, they are still your customer. They pay your bills and keep your business alive.
Now, I’m not saying that your business doesn’t always have a choice. There are certain circumstances where you may have to make the call because a particular client is detrimental to your business, or a segment is not worth your company’s resources, but most of the time, the situation is that they’re just an inevitable challenge.
It’s unreasonable to expect that your entire audience won’t create waves at some point, and buy off-the-shelf with no questions asked. One day, you will get that person that, for whatever reason, has an issue that they raise with you.
So, how will you and your team manage this process?
Recent Experiences Have Been Very Enlightening
I’m coming from the customer’s perspective at the moment, given I have been on the receiving end of quite a few questionable experiences that left me reeling.
I like to believe that I’m not overly difficult, and only raise concerns when there is a genuine problem. If anything, I’m probably a little bit soft, and it takes me a while before I cry ‘unfair’. But a few separate instances recently really had me shocked.
When I raised a fair point about the difficulties I was experiencing with their services, I was rained on with such antagonistic fury that I couldn’t believe what I was reading! It was like they saw it as an unfounded personal attack.
God forbid I should have the audacity to provide feedback as a paying client.
What had me taken aback most was the total lack of consideration for the healthy working relationship that we had established together over more than a year prior.
I was told, “well, if you want to unsubscribe, let me show you the door,” combined with passive aggressive formatting, such as triple question marks and capitalised sentences.
The only way I saw how to put the brakes on a situation that was quickly getting out of control was to say, “but I’m your client. I’m paying you, so you need to take my concerns seriously.”
Why did it have to get to this point?
Why did I have to remind them that they weren’t just doing me a favour?
What causes such an outburst from businesses? Perhaps it is that they do see it as a personal attack? Either way, this is a timely reminder to everyone out there- don’t forget who your customer is. Yes they may be annoying or frustrating on occasion, but remember that there needs to be a level of professional courtesy, even if that means swallowing our pride and taking the high road.
The Advantage Of Current Customers
Your current customers are a precious commodity. They are cheaper to service than having to canvas for new business, and the feedback they often provide can actually help your business to learn, improve and grow.
But most importantly, they have a right to question you on things that they aren’t happy with. They’ve earned this right, especially if they’ve been working alongside you for a long period of time.
So just don’t have them questioning who the client is in the relationship should they need to raise a concern with you. Listen to their concerns, validate their feelings and present a mutually beneficial solution. It’s much more agreeable than having a tantrum and then regretting your actions later.
Look how companies like The Commonwealth Bank, NRMA Insurance or even Telstra (haven’t they come a long way!) treat their customer today. It’s an absolute delight speaking to these businesses. I have also seen some of my mentors and previous managers, even in the face of a legal challenge, rise above the initial emotional flare, and take the time to craft a rational and polite response; assertive, yes, but respectful none-the-less.
Just Remember This Saying
This saying always acts as a great litmus test when responding to your customer:
People may forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
There is a lesson to be learned from this. Regardless of who they are or what they do, they’re your customer and deserving of your respect.
I live by this with my business, Melotti Media Copywriting and Marketing solutions, and it has done nothing but pay dividends. Happy customers not only come back with return business; they become advocates and tell everyone they know about you too.
What are your thoughts?