Ever have one of those weeks where everyone you’re working with seems completely incompetent? As I texted to a friend, why can’t people just do their freakin’ jobs? Oh, the frustration! She texted back, simmer down tea pot. Ha Ha, at least that made me laugh.
Instead of just being angry about it though, I started wondering why. If you believe as I do that you are responsible for everything that shows up in your life, then what was going on that caused me to become the queen of beating people with a sharp stick to get them to do what they are supposed to do?
I haven’t come up with a good answer to that question yet. And I will refrain from calling out specific companies here (although feel free to take a look at my Twitter feed for the past two weeks.) But what I do have are a few pointers to keep you from annoying customers and pushing them to do business elsewhere.
- Set expectations that you can and will meet. You hear a lot about the importance of providing outstanding experiences and exceeding customers’ expectations. Under promise and over deliver. And who wouldn’t want to do that? Just be aware that once you set those expectations you’d better at least meet them, or you will end up with a disappointed customer (which is sad) or an irate customer (which is dangerous).
- If you screw up, take responsibility and admit you made a mistake. Clients understand mistakes can happen. What will send someone over the edge is when you don’t take responsibility for that mistake, you lie about it or you attempt to cover it up. Blaming the U.S. postal service, any of your other vendors or your “stupid” employees is easy, but it doesn’t make you look good and calls into question your integrity.
- See if you can put yourself in your customer’s position and understand where they’re coming from. Listen to even what sounds to you like the most ridiculous request. See if you can come up with some kind of response that allows the customer to believe he or she was heard. Perhaps there is some kind of compromise you could present that works for both sides. “Sorry, that’s our policy” is NOT an apology. It is a cop out and speaks poorly of your commitment to servicing customers. Repeating your policy over and over as if the person you are speaking to didn’t hear you the first time is also insulting.
Nevermind exceeding customer expectations. Is your business even meeting them? Wake up and take an honest look.