The customer isn’t always right. As small business owners, we know this. Certain customers simply have it wrong; they’re being unreasonable, they’re asking for more than what was agreed upon, they’re just plain rude. So, what’s with that saying, “the customer is always right”?
We can’t lie. We’ve been on their end before. We’ve been a hundred per cent sure that we deserve something from a business, and we’ve been difficult when things haven’t gone our way.
The thing is, difficult customers are just part of the game, and it’s your approach to these individuals that can ultimately make or break client and customer growth.
While it may not be the case for every business, most live and die by reputation. A reputation, whether it is a positive or negative one, relies on opinion and the circulation of that opinion. Herein lies the dilemma. If a customer complains and has criticisms to make about your business, regardless of whether or not they are in the wrong, their opinion is still as valuable as that from your most loving customer.
In an age where an image of one’s meal and a tiny emoticon describing one’s emotion can hit countless people with the touch of a button, no longer can we afford to dismiss those difficult customers as simple nuisances. With the internet now a part of everyday life, businesses need to have an eye on what’s being said about them in the midst of ones and zeros. Gone are the days when an unhappy customer may affect the opinion of a few others, such as family and close friends, assume everyone is a business critic out to spread the word – positive or negative – about your service.
Putting the viral aspects of opinion aside, know that the customer that isn’t always right can serve your business greatly. An unhappy customer doesn’t always mean that your business is doing something wrong, they could simply be difficult individuals, but the key thing to source from them is in finding what element your business could adopt or change to ensure even these customers can’t find things to nitpick over. Use the customers that aren’t right to find anything in your business’ service that could leave a customer wanting. Try to step in their shoes for a bit, look at your business with their level of unhappy scrutiny, and you’ll be surprised at what you may find.
Of course, certain customers cannot be pleased – no matter what you do. I’m not saying that they’re all helpful, some are just out to get what they want, but think twice about what you can take from an experience with that customer that isn’t right. The customer is always right? No, but even those that aren’t can help your business.