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Why the customer is always right

Everyone who has ever worked in retail or everyone who has ever been to a store knows the following situation:

An angry customer is complaining/talking to a staff member and the sales person is getting more and more impatient, resulting in a frustrated customer who might never come back to that particular store.

Here is why that is deadly for any store and absolutely avoidable. Firstly, a complaining customer is a customer who cares! How great is it if a customer comes to your store to tell you how you are wrong or to tell you about a faulty product or service. They spend their time to come back to you and they want you to know about it. WHY? Because they actually like you and want you to take care of it.

Embrace the opportunity and fix it.

But let’s dig deeper. Why can a customer NEVER be wrong?

A customer who is expressing their concerns in any way is sharing their feelings with you and feelings simply can’t be wrong. It seems like a simple concept but I really encourage you to think about it for a while. As the serving staff member and the owner of a store it is your task to understand why the customer is feeling a certain way!

Hint: Most likely they won’t tell you what really bothers them.

However, you have created those feelings because they are based on expectation. Those expectations have been set by you either willingly or subconsciously. Perhaps, it is simply a marketing message that has been interpreted in an unexpected way but there is something that has caused an expectation by the customer that hasn’t been met. Fortunately, a complaining customer actually cares, so take it seriously and don’t complain back. Always bear in mind that there is a reason for the feeling and feelings are never wrong.

Examples:

  1. If a customer blames you for a high price, bear in mind that they actually take time to tell you about it. Now, it’s your task why the customer thinks it is a high price. Have you set wrong expectations? Do they not understand the true value and need more demonstrations? Was the last product the customer bought of you significantly cheaper but sufficient in quality? Are they actually asking for a finance option?
  2. A customer is complaining about a bad product and missing features. Bear in mind that the customer takes time of their schedule to tell you about their experience which means that they definitely like some of the features of your product. They also give you insights in what they want next and by talking to you they give you the option to tell them the reasons behind your product road map. This is an incredible chance for you to talk to your customers and gain more insights (what of your products is valued and what part isn’t).

If you see any feedback, whether the customer is calm and collected or screaming at you, through this lens you will soon discover the value of that feedback. Keep in mind an angry customer expresses their feelings and feelings can never be wrong because they have been caused by something. It’s up to you to find out what it was, fix it, and use it to your advantage.

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