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Is the Customer ALWAYS Right?

by kjosephs on ‎05-04-2010 01:20 PM - last edited on ‎05-05-2010 12:08 PM by (2,066 Views)

Well, my experience is that when I am a customer, I am always right!  Ok, maybe there have been a few times when I haven’t been fully informed, and my perspective was changed with a little insight.  But, really, who remembers those times?  The most vivid customer experiences I’ve had are either exceptional or they really hit a nerve.  And, we all know those shocking stories that hit a nerve seem to live on forever.  So, what you do when the situations start to heat up?


Really, take a minute and think about how you have responded to other co-workers, family members, vendors, and even customers when faced with resistance.  Was the situation solved to your satisfaction?  What about their satisfaction?


I recently attended a leadership training course facilitated by Omega Performance Corporation, and I seriously experienced a few moments of self discovery.  By understanding the steps to address resistance, I realized the triggers that set me in motion.  The motions that most come to mind include:


  • Looking for flying objects with some seriously obvious eye rolling


  • Lip service with lines like, “sure thing!”


  • How about a well delivered “WHATEVER” with supporting facial expressions that clearly say something else 


  • Or, maybe I just show them my best side as I walk out 


Here are the steps Omega suggests for addressing resistance:


1.     Acknowledge the concern.  It is important to let the other person know that you recognize their frustration or concern, so he or she knows you are listening.


2.     Explore the situation with questions and listening.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know exactly why this situation is a concern. Drill down with open-ended questions that allow you to get to the root of the concern.


3.     Resolve the heart of the concern:

    a.      Provide Information


    b.      Position with benefits


    c.       Provide alternatives


Having an open discussion about the concerns isn’t enough.  See if you can get the individual to make some recommendations on how to resolve the concerns.  After all, don’t you feel more inclined to work toward a solution when you are involved in defining it?

4.     Check for satisfaction.  Sometimes you might not get it quite right.    So, make sure both parties are satisfied with the outcome, and repeat any necessary steps required for resolution.

These steps can be applied to any type of conflict.  While you might not see eye rolling in written communication as easy, you can often spot the signs that there is resistance.  I encourage you to give this approach a try.  More important, if you feel like you are resisting a situation, notice your triggers.  Maybe the person you are frustrated with is not acknowledging your concerns.  Perhaps they did acknowledge them, but then told you how to resolve them without checking for your satisfaction.  You can coach them by asking them questions and inviting dialog that helps you work down this path.


I hope you found this helpful.  Let me know if you have an eye rolling experience you turned around with this approach.

Message Edited by tmergel on 05-05-2010 12:08 PM

by Copper Elite Contributor
on ‎05-05-2010 10:52 AM

the more you know, the better position you enjoy as a trusted advisor.  the client understands that not everything is perfect as they, themselves, must have their own experiences with the delta between expectations and delivery.  mastering the process elegantly is an art and it begins with experience and is supported by retaining every nuanced piece of information relevant to the client's processes.


if the client doesn't need you, then you wouldn't be there in the first place.  if you are not up to the task, then the best help you can offer is to recommend an alternative resource or partner with one.  or leave. 

by kjosephs
on ‎05-05-2010 11:50 AM
I couldn't agree moreIt is important to learn as much as possible, as that is your advantageAnd, being able to have an open dialog is essentialThe process an art.  Thanks for the comment, Bevan.
by Copper Elite Contributor
on ‎05-06-2010 12:46 PM

If you think the client is always right, read this.


I often view my greatest value is that I save the clients from themselves.