Welcome geniuses- this blog is going to be a doozy so save your angry comments/ emails/ fist pounding until the end… Let me start by saying that in all of the businesses that I run, I go with the “Sane customer who just wants an awesome experience, is open to reasonable discourse and whose needs match our offerings is always right” kind of a vibe.
Business and life are just flat out better when you give the other guy a better shake than he deserves. So many times if you just stop fighting with the customer on who is right and who is wrong and just go out of your way help them, you get to see the amazing transformation from lunatic angry blogger telling the world that you and your company are criminals to raving fan evangelists singing your praises to the world and naming his firstborn after your company.
Genius Tip: The biggest opportunity to create a raving fan customer that refers and re buys day in and day out is to take a problem situation and go over the top fixing it and making it better than a regular customer experience.
Before you start grumbling about the ol bait and switch with the title proclaiming the customer is not always right and the first couple of paragraphs being a big sloppy love affair with customers, let’s get down to the situations in which the customer is not always right:
1) There are crazy people out in the world- Some people are just nuts and their life’s mission is to make the world a dark and crabby place. I learned early on to thank them for their interest in doing business with me and my company, but to let them know early on that I didn’t think that we would be a good fit and that we would not be able to work with them. The best angry customer is someone elses angry customer!!
2) Screaming, cursing and abusing- I have absolutely zero tolerance for this tomfoolery toward myself, my employees or for any reason at any place of business that I own. These people get exactly one warning that this sort of insanity is not going to be tolerated and the next outburst will be met by a dial tone and/ or them being removed from the premises. Interestingly enough, when this ultimatum was given with a firm, unflustered authoritative tone, most people got a hold of themselves and calmed down. The very few that didn’t were done. Period.
Genius Side Note: I actually found that employees wanting to do a good job for the company would put up with more abuse for themselves than I would allow the customers to give them. Set the tone for your employees that they are NOT to put up with that sort of nonsense, even if they are “ok” taking it.
3) It can actually hurt customer service. I know that sounds insane, but as every fifth thing I say in this blog, it is actually freaking genius!! You have to have your employees back’s. Your employees represent you to all of your customers and if they feel like you don’t support them and/ or that you are going to undermine them while they are trying to do what’s best for your company, you will find those employees giving up and losing their passion which will cause your overall customer experience to tank.
4) Some customers are just not worth the headache. If you have a customer whose wants and needs are ridiculous, or just don’t match up with your offering- do both of you a favor and turn that customer on to your competitor and let your competitor deal with the headache while you skip and hold hands into the sunset with your target customers.
Keep in mind, bad customers can be brutal telling their side of the story to the world and with social media as prevalent as it is, you want to make sure you minimize the negative impact they have. It can be so tempting to vent on a problem customer and settle their hash for them, but that will come back to bite you nearly every time. Do the hard thing, put on your adult/ business owner/ professional pants and be as kind as possible as you show them the door. Even better, have a written system in place that outlines how customers are to be ejected from your business universe.
Now for a little fun… Genius Nation, share your best angry customer story with the world in the comment section below.