Do your customers care? I'm willing to bet they do when it comes to themselves. While that may sound selfish, lets keep in mind that your customers buy from you based on what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. The problem is that many business people seem to forget that.
I was at a local electronics retailer the other day looking for an item that was advertised in their flyer. When I got there, the item was nowhere to be found. When I asked about it, the guy behind the counter went on in great lengths how the factory in the US shipped it late and it went to the head office instead of the store, and on and on.
Do I need to know this? Of course not. Did this make me feel better about leaving empty handed? No way. And to make matters worse, he couldn't tell me when the item would actually arrive.
"But the sale will be over in two days." I said. "Can I at least get a rain check so I can purchase it at the sale price when it arrives?"
What would you have said if you were the guy behind the counter? A no brainer, huh? Well this is what he told me: "Sorry sir, but we don't do rain checks. It's our policy." He then went on to explain that this item has been known to go on sale more than once throughout the year. Thanks, I'll try to keep that in mind.
A true story.
While you may have handled the situation differently, there are still times when we expect our customers to show sympathy when we are unable to provide five star service. Sure, things beyond our control will happen that impact on our ability to keep our promises.
Just don't expect your customers to care about them.
Instead, just deal with it head on. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Sometimes a "sorry" is enough. Other times, some form of compensation may be appropriate.
Here's five questions to ask yourself next time one of your customers asks for something:
- Is my customer unhappy as a result of a transaction with my company?
- Could this customer potentially buy from me again?
- What is my cost in dollars to make this customer happy? (It may be less that you think)
- How can I turn this situation into a win-win experience? (Make this your top motivator)
- What would I want this person to say if asked of their experience with my company?
The most important thing any customer can give you is their trust. If they believe that you will right any wrong and look out for them, they will be your customers for life. And no amount of advertising will get you that.
By the way, I ended up taking the flyer to a national electronics retailer that had the product in stock and matched the sale price.
Marc Gordon is a professional speaker and marketing consultant based in Toronto, Ontario. His firm, Fourword Marketing, specializes in helping businesses create a brand identity and developing effective marketing campaigns. Marc can be reached at (416) 238-7811 or visit his website, by clicking here