I just read;”All Customers Are Equal” – at the Business Leader Success Advice. This is a response to the article. You should read it before you read my response.
I do not agree on their view on this topic. First of all, all customers are not equal. Customers have different personalities, different expectations and different ways of communicating. Complaints is one way to see the big difference, unfortunately the “loudest” screamers often gets the most attention, and maybe the best solution, the biggest compensation and the most unhappy employees. In a utopia the customers might be equal, but to land the big national client, they might have other demands. They might want their own price plan, their own dedicated support line, even branded products.
Where the money river flows!
This big fish have a huge network, if she is happy she might generate great revenue, if she is unhappy she might cost a big client. Customers with a known name or for some reasons have influence to move money your way do get a better service than John Doe. 20 % of your customers generate 80 % of the revenue. They might be rewarded with a custom channel of contact.
Sky high demands, cannot always be met!
At my company we try to agree with most customers, in the very most of these cases we manage to agree with the customers. Some customers might be impossible to agree with, they might have unreasonable demands far beyond our stretch. In Norway we have an independent complaint organ where you can file your case. In almost 100 % of these cases we are right. Unfortunately we will end up losing the customer, but it would be impossible for us to solve the problem as the expectations were sky high. I am sad every time we lose a customer this way. If you are a customer somewhere and feels like complaining, check if your demands are too high before complaining.
Anger shall not be rewarded!
I have disconnected one customer for threatening my employee. The customer insulted one of my staff and threatened to strangle him with a phone cord. I can understand that a customer might be angry, frustrated and upset, but there is no excuse in this matter. If you threaten my employees I do not need your business. I have also had customers showing up at the office yelling at our employees. I tell them to come back later when they have cooled down. This shows that as well as respect for our customers I also need to respect my employees or I won’t have anybody to serve my customer. If you are a customer, here is a great tip: Get in touch when you are calm, and bring your case forward. You can say to the one helping you that you are extremely angry, but with the company, not him. If you are polite, but firm you will be heard. If your company rewards anger, you will get angry customers. No it is not right to be rude to my employees.
If the customer is always right, are your employees always wrong?
No, my employees know the rules of the game, they know the terms of contract. They know what you can get, or not get. They know where the borders are. And I respect that. I do not overrule my employees’ rulings unless I can see something that they might have overlooked, or the customer has new information in the case. If I constantly reversed the ruling, the employees would not know where the borders are, they would be unhappy at work and they might even quit. As a customer you should be interested in being served by the best. If I agree with the customer I will try to get the employee to agree with me first.
I love it when people are polite.
I once had a customer that filed a complaint, with 10-15 comments about stuff she was dissatisfied with. I did not agree on one single comment. I called here up, talked to her and explained. She was very polite and easy to talk to. I said that we could not meet here demands, and I even confirmed it in writing. I gave her one month free service because she was unhappy with us. I did not need to, as this was her fault. But as a customer she was unhappy, I need to address that. Two days later I got an e-mail praising our customer care, from the very same customer. She felt heard, she learned something and she even got one month of free service. This is up to date the best feedback I have ever received and this from a customer that I did not agree on any of her complaints. If she would be angry and rude, she would not be open for my answers, she would not learn how a modem works, and she would most likely change ISP, and the cable would still be plugged in the wrong port on the router.
In conclusion all customers are not equal.
All customers should be treated with respect. All employees should be treated with respect and that is it.