What? The customer is NOT always right? Now I got your attention! If you’re a person in a business dealing with customers or clients on a daily basis (it seems like any business out there), chances are you have dealt with customers who are “wrong” many times… yet, being a good customer service person as you are, you have accepted that the customer is always right. Well, here’s my take on this…
When a customer hires you or your company to provide your services to his or her company they do it because of your expertise. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, or a design company; the bottom line is that YOU know more about your craft than your customer will ever know. After all, that’s why they have hired you in the first place. Unfortunately, there are some times when you just have to tell your customers things that they don’t want to hear and then, when they get upset, they expect you to tell them that they are right just because they are your customer. The truth is that you wouldn’t be doing your job if you would just be working to please them rather than to actually HELP them.
The way I avoid this situation is by treating all of my customers *from the beginning* of our business relationship as if they were my partners. We develop an unwritten partnership by which I will provide the best products/services/advice to them so that they can better succeed in the future. After all, isn’t that the only way we will both benefit from our relationship? Would you prefer a doctor that doesn’t tell you what you have to do to stay healthy even if you don’t agree with that lifestyle change? Or would you like an accountant that tells you that you’re getting this nice tax return now, even if you risk a hefty fine if you find yourself in an audit a few months later?
The reality is that if you always treat your customers with respect, tell them what in your opinion is best for them, and assist them along the way, you will never find yourself in a situation where your customers claims the “I’m your customer and you need to do what I say.” Your good customers will always appreciate the partnership and working on projects together with your team. And your bad customers… well, my best advice to you is to tell those customers that you will gladly recommend them to your worst competitor. Let them deal with them while you use your newly found free time to foster other good relationships.
Until next time, I hope you always have fun at what you do!