Opportunity knocks

I usually have lunch about 14:00 hrs, some times at the office but most days I go out. Today I went to this new little restaurant near the office, two blocks at most. This place is owned by a kind lady who likes to tell stories to the customers, about her family, about the weather, or any anecdote about herself. Today she told me something that I’ve been listening since I was a child, but for some reason, this time this quote sounded different in my mind: “A customer is always right”.

I’ve been in the business world enough time to confront situations with difficult customers, and I’ve learned something: they are not always right… and I really think that as professionals we do have the responsability to let them know when they are wrong… the critical solution here is: how can we face this situations without break our relationship with a customer? and even more, how can we turn this circumstance in an opportunity to improve our relationship with a customer?

Some customers make mistakes in a positive way and others in a negative way, for example, a positive way is when those mistakes come from something they ignore, in most cases providing them with the right information would be enough to solve it. However also the opposite situation happens, for example when a customer is absolutely sure that he is right and that we are wrong; this is the most valuable opportunity to get an ally in that customer if we have the capabilities needed for achieving that.

For me, there is not any secret, we live in a world made of causes and consequences, if we want to achieve a positive consequence out of this hard customers, then we must plant the right causes, and this can be done if we are able to “wear the customer’s shoes”, we must be as assertive as we can be. It is not hard to understand that every person see the situations from its own point of view, exactly as we do, so, if we are capable for some instant to ignore our own point of view and consider the one of the customer, we’ll be able to find a right solution to this event, we’ll find something to “put on the table” that seems a right solution for our customer’s eyes. I’m not talking about cheating, tricking, or manipulating a customer, I’m talking about finding convenient solutions for both parts wihtout the big impediment of our own interests. That means to be assertive.

So, even when a customer is not right, and we have to open his eyes, it is possible to find a good solution that turns this situation in one on our advantage, however never let a customer unhappy, that is a wrong strategy for any business.

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