This week’s marketing tip is a no brainer to most of us, but unfortunately many businesses overlook this principle.
Marketing Principle: Never make your customer feel uncomfortable when a problem surfaces. If you are at fault, do what it takes to take full responsibility. If the customer is at fault, don’t let them get defensive. Create a win-win outcome.
Related To Marketing?
How does this relate to marketing, one might ask? Everything you do in your business, good and bad, is marketing. The way you answer the phone, your voicemail greeting, customer service, the appearance of your employees, it sends a message to the consumer: hopefully a positive one!
My Personal Story
The principle I mentioned above is relavant to me this week because I had a situation (still going on) with a service contractor that made me get a little defensive and feel like the bad guy. I won’t mention their names (yet) because they are still in the middle of trying to work on my situation. A long story short, this company provided a service to my home which unfortunately caused a small leak in a pipe that was not fully shut off for several hours. An honest mistake and and an easy fix once discovered. It damaged my ceiling tiles in my finished basement in the 4 hours the leak took place. I’ve had lots of experience dealing with ceiling leaks (being in the painting business) so I knew the water stains were NOT going away. I contacted the company who apologized, came back out, fixed the pipe so it would not happen again and then said, “Call us in a few days once things dry out and see if everything looks ok.” I thought to myself, “Several tiles are brown and still soaking wet…and that is supposed to vanish in 3 days?” I knew right there that this employee was not taking full responsibility. I’m a nice guy and responded pleasantly, “Ok I can do that. BUT those ceiling tiles are soaked to the bone and are stained! I don’t think that is going away. What can you do about it?” His response, “Yeah you are probably right. But go ahead and call us in a few days and see how things are looking.” He then took a few pictures and went away. Hearing nothing from the staff, I made a call 4 days later to follow up. The sales person who sold me the water system called me back the next day. He was very professional on the phone yet still lacked the marketing principle in this post. Even though he was sorry and being positive, he put too much pressure on me and wondering what I wanted to do about the situation. What he should have done is simply said, “Dave, I’m sorry about your tiles. We’ll take care of this and don’t you worry about a thing.” If he said that, I would have backed down and not gotten defensive. Yet I’m still waiting for a call back and a solution that will hopefully not make me look like I’m the one who caused the leak.
The Little Things Matter
It is possible to have a few bad apple customers from time to time. Things happen! Yet it is how you deal with those customers that will determine if they will be back in the future or be customers for life. Yes, maybe there happen to be customers you’d rather not want back. If that is the case, the little things still matter. Follow the principle above and make sure even the tough customers don’t get defensive at the end of a project. You might keep a few from telling their friends or writing nasty reviews online, because you’ve done the right thing. I’ve seem my own father follow this principle numerous times and he rarely ever has customers who walk away upset. He has even returned money to frustrated customers (even when it is the customers fault!). What do you do to keep customers comfortable with your service? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.