Is the customer always right… even when they’re wrong? You betchya! Our job is to make them feel they are right, regardless, and work on the solution rather than the issue. I remember many years ago when I was first starting out in retail, my manager taught me to look for those coming in with returns or who looked unhappy, (maybe being the junior, that was my job, take all the crappy stuff, like the apprentice hair dresser who sweeps the floor for a year collecting other peoples dirty hair!)
Lucky for me, no… this wasn’t the case, He was teaching me a valuable lesson about helping people solve their problems so the next time they wanted to BUY something – it was me they came to. Back then it was Errol Stewarts (The Softies, red and white uniforms – we looked like sleazy Gold Coast property salesmen of the 70s!), so whenever I saw someone coming in with a faulty toaster or anything, I’d hightail it over to them… listened courteously, copped any abuse (I knew it wasn’t directed at me personally) then simply, with sincerity, said these 5 words:
“What would make you happy?”
They had nowhere to go but tell me exactly what would make them happy, and you guessed it, I just did as they asked! Simple stuff. These 5 words and your actions after determine if you have a customer for life. Of course, as a manager or owner, you need to train your staff on your policies and procedures (assuming all of these are centered on the customer wow factor) so they know what they can and can’t do without authority.
You’ll also need to show them the lifetime value of the customer and what it means for them. I would never allow a customer who demanded to see the manager get past me, only as they were leaving all happy – guess who got a glowing “customer service account” to the manager?
I should say, most of my business was referral and in my first year of selling toasters, washers, irons and fridges I was in the Elite Million Dollar club with Errol Stewarts, all because I was the first one to turn a customer’s frustrating problem into a solution. This lead to continued sales successes for the firms I worked for and developed sales teams.
In the years after in my businesses, I would train my teams the same, of course, always happy to chat to the customer, but their issue should have been resolved and no need for my intervention. Empowering your staff to make these decisions is the key.
To Your Business Success
Yale Morgan heads up the Better Business Group (BBG), which, as a company has proven business development products and systems, that range from “Do It Yourself” products to fully systemised Business Coaching Programs.