It took me a couple of years of being a leader to get to the point of maturity where I could readily admit this humble truth about “being right”:
It just doesn’t matter who is right (my company or the customer).
On Being Right
To get to this point, I had to ask myself:
- Was it really worth it to me (and my company) to be right?
- Was it worth it to lose a customer over a seemingly insignificant amount of money, just so I could be right?
The answer was a resounding, “NO!”
Now, one of the coolest questions that I get to ask our unhappy customers is this:
What can we do to make this right in your mind?
Once I started asking this question I realized a few different things:
- Most people don’t want as much as you are willing to give to fix the problem.
- Most people really admire you, as a company, for owning the problem, and fixing it.
- Most people are appreciative, and end up sticking with you for the foreseeable future.
I say MOST people, because you will inevitably get the customer that makes up the 1%, and decides to abuse you. You will encounter the customer that goes against all things human, and has unreasonable expectations in regards to a potential solution.
At this point in the relationship you, as a leader, get to decide if you are going to tolerate this customer abuse, or if you are going to fire the customer. I have done both.
However, any time you have the chance to excel in the eyes of the customer, it creates a win-win-win (customer-company-employee), and you get to reap the benefits!
You also create a raving fan.
On Making It Right
What is a “Raving Fan” you might ask? Ken Blanchard is an author of several books that speak about different business, leadership, customer service, and team concepts. In his book, Raving Fans he talks about creating a customer that is just satisfied vs. a customer that will bring that satisfaction to the next level by talking about your company to anyone that will listen.
- They never complain
- They never call in for problems with their billings
- They never call to discuss their concerns
- They just leave
- They go to the competition, because they perceive that you don’t care
Even if you haven’t done anything to offend them, directly. You haven’t done enough, in their mind, to give them a reason to stick around.
Opportunity to Lead Your Customers
Layo and Gitomer also discuss how dissatisfied customers provide the biggest opportunity for your company to grow. If you care for them in an exceptional way, you have the chance to gain a customer for life.
You have the chance to impress a customer so much so that they tell everyone they know about your efforts. These are the most enjoyable customers, because they look forward to hearing from you, for any reason! I’ve had some of these customers actually thank me for sending them a bill!
There are other variations of this concept, but you get the point.
So, how are you creating this type of customer for your company?
Have you gotten over yourself (and your ego) enough to ask an open-ended question like the one above?
You open yourself up to a lot of scenarios by asking a question like this. Are you ready for it?
What are you doing with the list of these customers? Are you keeping them a secret, or are you broadcasting them to your entire company, so they can see the type of company that they work for? You, in essence, are becoming a “Raving Fan” yourself.
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Image Sources: fwdemails.com
- The Leadership Pill (letsplayinnovation.wordpress.com)
- If customer service is so easy, why doesn’t everyone do it like THIS? (leaderchat.org)
- This is how you create raving fans (damniwish.com)