If you’re continually telling your employees or the vendors with whom you work that the customer is always right, you need to stop saying ‘the customer is always right’ and there are many good reasons to stop that right now. Some of them you may never have thought about.
However, I think businesses should abandon this phrase once and for all — ironically, because it leads to worse customer service.
Here are the top five reasons why “The Customer Is Always Right” is wrong.
If your employees are NEVER right because the customer is ALWAYS right, why should they give it there all? There’s no reason. You should be loyal to your employees and if you are, they will probably offer better service to your customers simply because your employees are feeling heard and valued. You certainly don’t want to reward poor service, but it’s more expensive to a business to replace employees than it is to treat them well and in turn they will perform at higher levels.
This mantra gives horrible customers carte blanche to be rude to your employees and to complain no matter how high a level service you offer.
Some customers, no matter how well you treat them will still complain and will also think they have you over a barrel and you will be forced to give more and more away to a customer to whom you should show the door.
You’ve been there yourself.
You KNOW there are sometimes that customers are just plain wrong and they will holler to the rooftops that “the customer is always right.” Your customers need to know you value your employees and that you welcome their input and that you trust your employees’ opinions on a customer interaction.
Make your employees feel valued and heard and you won’t have to worry about whether the customer is right — you know they will likely be happy and you know your staff will be happier. What measures do you have in place to show your employees they are valued even in light of a yelling customer?
What is the life cycle of a sale? Do you imagine that every time you meet a new potential client that you will close the deal? How long does it take to make a sale? If you don’t have a realistic expectation you may feel as though you’re spinning your wheels. You may also feel as though your efforts are for naught.
How Long Does It Take To Make A Sale?
We know it’s not always easy to think about talking with someone and walking away without a signed contract or without a check in your hand, right? You need to make sales and make money in order to remain viable? Take a deep breath and think back to the last time you met with someone and make a decision right then and there? When was it? Probably at the grocery store, but probably not when you’re just starting out a process of buying goods or services, right?
Here are the steps I have found to be part of the sale life cycle:
Prospecting. You need to meet people to get them into yoru pipeline. Without connections and prospects, how will you grow?
Get out of the office. It is so easy to stay in the office and fire off emails to potential clients. I urge you to get out of the office and shake hands and make real face to face connections.
Pain points. Identify those in a potential client and speak to those. Don’t make your approach a one sizes fits all. Tailor the conversation to the individual.
Listen. In order to address your potential client’s pain points you need to listen. I always urge people to resist the urge to fill in silences in the conversation. Let your client mull over the situation and ask you questions. Delve deep and understand how your mousetrap will help them and how it’s better than the mousetrap they’re using today.
Commit. Once your prospect is ready to take the next step with you, you want to clearly spell out what you will provide him, what he needs to get you and what the cost of that exchange will be. Be transparent and clear up any potential gray areas.
Gone are the days when you can run your business the same way that the “guy down the street” does. You need to know how to set your business apart from the competition and it has to be in a better way than racing to the bottom with the lowest price. There are many strategies that entrepreneurs can put into play to make their business “be” different from the competition even if you’re both selling the same widgets to the same base of clients.
How To Set Your Business Apart From The Competition
What are you doing to stay ahead of your business competitors? What is your differentiator? What steps can you take to truly make a difference and have an impact that will make your business soar?
Have faith in yourself and in your success and, most importantly, in the goods and services you offer. Your faith and your belief in yourself will shine in every conversation you have.
Don’t quit. Even if you try something that doesn’t work or doesn’t work the way you’d hoped it would — it is NOT a failure. It was an experiment from which you can learn, strengthen and move forward.
Make a decision. Entrepreneurs cannot afford to sit on the fence. They need to be decisive — yes, even if that decision turns out to not offer the outcome you’d originally hoped for. You decided. Moved forward and you can course correct if necessary.
Be healthy in mind and body. Yes, entrepreneurs need to put in a lot of hours to be successful BUT if you’re not taking time for yourself and your mental and physical health you will not thrive. You need to operate at peak levels and this means you need to eat healthy. You need to get physical exercise and you need to sleep. Don’t forget your personal life and make time for friends and family.
What can you, or do you, do to set your business apart from the competition?
Have you ever wondered how to build your email list? Have you ever wondered, why do I even need an email list? If these questions have come up, and chances are if you are anywhere online you will have heard the conversations around “list building” and you may wonder how it will help your business grow.
If you have a website and if you are driving traffic to your website and if you are not capturing the emails of those who visit your site, you are missing out on potential new clients. Visitors to your site could potentially convert into customers and one way to do that is to get them on your list. To do that, you need to offer an “ethical bribe” to get them to give up their email address and take the chance on being on your mailing list.
Offer great value. Rather than having your sign up box say, “Sign up to receive my weekly XYZ Newsletter” make it a value-add. Tell them why they should sign up. Offer great value. For example, “Do you want to save time and make more money? Our weekly tips offer actionable ways to do just that. Sign up to get started.” You’ve offered value and incentive.
Be clear. Don’t offer “time and money saving tips” but talk about “50 ways to jump start your business idea.” The ethical bribe and the sign up information should be cohesive.
Offer a discount to subscribers. If you have a course or a webinar or an inperson seminar on the horizon, offer “money off” to those who sign up for your newsletter. Money savings is a great incentive.
Include a call to action. Once your email or auto responder message reaches the new subscriber, have a call to action (other than the “confirm you wanted this message”). They have just signed up. They are invested in what you have to offer. Strike while the iron is hot.
Offer a money back guarantee. If you’re selling a product or service, offer a bullet proof money back guarantee. This gives the subscriber and individual paying for your course a way to feel good about the purchase and it also pushes you to provide the highest quality goods or services.
Do you have a way to capture emails? Once you have them on your list are you offering newsletter content that is of value? If you’re struggling with this, reach out to us, we can help!
You are responsible for everything. As the boss you have no one to turn to if something goes awry other than yourself. You’re making the decisions. You are the person at the top and the buck stops with you. You will work long hours and will have to make sacrifices when you’re starting out — it comes with the territory of being solely responsible.
Once you can hire staff or contractors, you will find it difficult to delegate. It’s been you running the show for so long it will be hard to give it to someone else to take over.
Starting from scratch or buying into an existing business are vastly different. You need to decide which you’re more comfortable with and make that decision. Buying an existing business means there will likely be policies and procedures in place and if there is existing staff that may make for an easy transition. BUT if you want to come in and make changes, you will need to be prepared for push back and hearing “that’s not how we do it.”
Being willing to take risks. IF you’re not a risk taker, it may be more difficult to run a business than you may have imagined. Keep in mind, “no risk. No reward.” You don’t want to make foolish risks, but you do need to be willing to try something new, experiment and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, start again and learn from your mistakes.
Handling money. It is tempting when you’re just starting out to want to go big with your business. You want to rent office space. Invest in office furniture and go all in. That’s great, but I urge you to start out on a shoestrong and grow when the cash flow allows. You also need to build a team and on that team should be a financial advisor/bookkeeper/CPA. Don’t get on the wrong side of the IRS. Put good financial practices into place before you depost your first dollar.
What have you found to be the biggest challenge when you were starting out?
We all have those customers that we love working with, right? We also all have those clients or customers that we wince when we see their name show up on our cell phone or in our appointment book. How well do you know your customer? How would you like to work with a majority of clients or customers who make you happy and bring you joy? It’s easiest to do this if you know who your ideal client is, what they need and want from you and how you can deliver.
What makes for an ideal customer?
They come to you for more than your price.
They stick with you long term.
They are willing and happy to try new products or services you offer.
They continually boy.
They know what they want.
They pay on time.
If you’re looking for ideal customers or clients, you may need to divest your business of those clients who drain your energy and bring nothing to the table. How can you spot a client who is not idea?
They are never satisfied.
They continually ask for more but want to pay for less
They aren’t financially stable and you are continually in money-chase mode
They don’t value what you do and how to do it
They rarely offer good word of mouth to potential clients.
How can you rid your business of less than ideal clients?
Raise your prices
Be unavailable for their phone calls or meetings
Offer them an introduction to a business partner who may be a better fit
Be direct. “I just don’t think we are a good fit.”
When was the last time you needed to break up with a client that just wasn’t a good fit? How did you do it? Were you able to move past the break up and remain friendly?