10 worst ways to treat a customer – Part 3
Last week I neglected our series about customer service due to more pressing issues…like a Tom Jones concert. It was important and no one can convince me otherwise. But I do admit, this topic is essential as well, so let`s pick up where we left.
Before we do so, I take the opportunity to remind you all, this list is not a poignant judgement of today`s service providers, but only a reminder for all of us to be in each other`s shoe, to show just a little bit of empathy. That might be the missing ingredients to run a successful business.
In the 10 worst ways to treat a customer – Part 2, I explained the deadly power of ‘Impossible’ and the advantages of the counteroffer. Here are the next two items on my list.
5. Don`t criticize my idea.
Previously, I was talking about the severe damage can be caused by saying to a customer that her notion is unrealistic. That`s an extreme reaction, of course, although true story, I swear. In case anyone wants proof, just drop me a line and I send you the original email I received, but let`s spare ourselves from such experience for now…personally, I had enough reading it once.
A bit gentler insult is more common. I refer to the situation when service providers tear my request into pieces telling me how and where I got it wrong. “That`s a bad idea, it will look awful.” or “Who told you that it would be good in this way?”
I try not to sound like a baby, but these are really hurtful things to say (I should have tried harder, never mind.). Everyone has the right to disagree with me, all in all, taste is subjective, but there are countless other ways to express your professional doubts. And the key here is `professional`: the moment you target the idea itself or even the source of the idea, the situation becomes personal and from that point…well, there is no going back. The business relationship has ended before even began.
How to express doubts in a professional way? By providing alternative solutions. Give me examples how you would do it without degrading my approach. I will not feel violated and probably choose you as a supplier, you will gain a customer and demonstrate competence. Talk about win-win situation.
6. Don`t criticize my product.
Surprisingly enough, I have come across this attitude more and more lately. Must be a trend of sorts. My mother used to say that everything was relative. This is especially true when it comes to taste, so handle it with care.
If I turn to you with a specific request, I will not be open for an unwanted and completely unrelated critique of my product or service. Unless your service is reviewing and assessing items, all I will hear is belittling my stuff that I have been working on months and months. How would you feel?
I am not saying that services providers should be yes-men, but professional communication respecting each other`s effort and work has never hurt anyone. Food for thoughts.
I`ll come back to this topic next week. Wait for me!