Is the customer always right?

Is the customer always right?

We’re going to have a chat today about whether the customer is always right. You’ve probably heard that little chestnut before and I’m going to give you a little insight into a lesson I got today or a surprise I got on today’s real life lessons from a business coach.


Have you meet the customers expectations?


I’m going to talk about this box right here. I'll explain to you what’s in here in a second. But before I do that, I just wanted to talk to you a little about understanding that sometimes, you know the old saying, ‘The customer’s always right?’ You've probably heard that before.


But I'm not a great believer in the perception of that saying. It’s not always about whether or not the customer’s always right, it’s about understanding that the customer has a perception that maybe you have an expectation that you haven’t met, and you need to take ownership of that. I think that’s really what that saying is all about.


There are times when a customer is not happy, and it doesn't matter if you think you've done the right thing or not. If they’re not happy, the message you’re sending them straight away is that they don’t feel you've met their expectations.


Our experience with LinkedIn Recruiter


Maybe about a year and a half ago now, I signed up for a service with LinkedIn Recruiter. That service was a 12 month agreement and it ran in the many thousands, tens of thousands of dollars for this particular service.


The whole point of this LinkedIn Recruiter was to help my Talent Acquisition Manager find the right kind of people and get them into my business. So it was a fairly important decision that I made, and I was fairly hopeful that this particular solution was going to help us with recruitment. Those of you with your own businesses know that the face of recruiting is changing. The way we advertise our positions that are available is getting more difficult.


So I signed up for this service. It wasn’t very long before I realized what we signed up for, we weren’t receiving. I got sort of halfway through, had made two payments, and decided not to pay any more until I got solutions. I was getting demands from the LinkedIn’s Account Department about paying the bill. I was talking to an Account Manager who understood why I hadn’t paid the bill. The two departments weren't talking. The Accounts Department was starting to make threats. They were in another country. I said, ‘Hey, you need to ring me, I can explain this.’ They said, ‘We can’t ring you, we’re in a different time zone.’ I said, ‘I’ll take your call anytime.’ No matter what I did, they didn’t want to play ball. They just had to get their money.


Communicate with an unhappy customer


I think there are so many business that need to step back and say, ‘If the customer’s not paying because they’re not happy, then we need to have a chat with that customer. We need to work out what they expected and what it was that we didn't deliver.


It was a great lesson because here was a big organization, they were growing very fast. I even had one of their managers here in my boardroom with their own admission that they had grown too fast and did not have the ability to serve everybody, and that I wasn't the only one. I got something there that proved to me I wasn't the only one, but it’s just a good marketing piece...


How to turn a negative into what could be a positive


Today I received this from the courier. It’s a humble pie. And it says, ‘A serving of humble pie. Bite in.’ Inside here it actually says, ‘Yes we’ve eaten a slice. We've recognized a few reasons you haven’t received the potential of your LinkedIn investment.’ Now here they are making an admission that we didn't get what we paid for and that they want to try to fix it by inviting us to a lunch of something. It says they've eaten a slice and there isn't a slice missing... I think it would be better marketing, if you’re LinkedIn marketing, if there was a slice missing.


But it’s good to see they’re doing something about it and they are recognizing that there a bunch of unhappy customers. I'm not the only one. They obviously wouldn't go through the trouble of a bakery baking up a whole bunch of pies and sending them out unless they recognized the fact that there were a lot of unhappy customers. Personally, I'm still not seeing value out of the solution, and that’s a big challenge for them, a huge challenge. It’s obviously a business solution that they were selling that they believed in.


But not to worry about LinkedIn because this isn't about LinkedIn. This is about understanding that as a business, if the customer is not happy, regardless of whether or not you thought what you did was right, it’s not about proving who’s right or who’s wrong. It’s not even about the customer being right. It’s about that somebody’s paid for something and they’re not happy. What are you going to do to fix it?


Really, I would like to see my money in here rather than a pie, but I know for them, they want to keep the business. They are making an attempt, I don't believe they've worked hard enough to save my business. I won’t be renewing. So it’s just a good lesson for us all in business. If a customer’s not happy, listen to what they've got to say. Have a good, hard look at yourself, and take ownership for why that customer isn't satisfied with what they've received. Sometimes it’s okay to say ‘sorry,’ which is what this is.


This is a ‘sorry’ pie from LinkedIn...


About the Author


Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.

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