Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Even If He Isn’t Right, As Long As He Pays, Continues To Be Your Customer.

Unsolicited emails, phone harassment, salespeople who do not want to understand I'm not interested in buying the product they're offering me, customer service representatives who simply recite non-stop a pre-elaborated script without even realizing they're talking to a 12 years old kid, suppliers who dare to tell you they’re losing money working with you, professionals who play with your time as if the only valuable time is theirs, delivery companies whom keep you sitting at your office all day long until they arrive to receive what you are waiting for, without even bothering to call you on the phone to arrange a specific time advance.

Stories like these, many; and I guess the same thing will happen to you.

When you look back at them, you realize there have been plenty of situations in which a company you hired to render a service has suddenly become a deaf entity which only listens to its own reasons and justifications, without even bothering to ask if you are (or are not) happy with the service they are providing you.

It's as if you stopped being interesting from the moment you signed in and became one more of the pile.

And it makes me wonder, is it that all these companies have forgotten that I am the one paying for their bills?

Well, it's not that I pay them all directly from my pocket, rather what truly happens is that me, and many other clients like me, since the day we decided to trust in these companies, started indirectly paying for their expenses and helping them grow with the money we pay them for their services and products.

And it is not otherwise, although it might seem that for these companies is the other way around.

Even if your customer is not right and as long as he pays, you must continue to consider him a customer.

Do you remember the saying "the customer is always right"?

Well, a long time ago it was changed to a different version that simply adapted to a better understanding of the customer-supplier relationship.

We began to say then: "Even if he is not right, he continues to be your client." 

From that moment on, we stopped seeing the customer as someone who had to be right at all times, someone we had to please even in the slightest thing, who could not be argued or disagreed with.

As long as you use their money to pay your company’s bills, you must call them "customers"

We began to consider the client a normal person (company), with their ups and downs, their best and worst days, with whom we had a professional relationship. And based on that relationship, our customer was paying us for our services or products and we were using that money to keep our businesses running.

We understood that, even if our client might take us to the limit of our patience, we could never turn a professional relationship into a personal one and treat our customer with contempt, disrespect, yell at them, smash them against the wall, or anything like that because, at the end of the day, he was the one who was supporting the development of our projects, with the money being paid to us.

And is that companies are not successful or even grow simply because they have wonderful products. Nope. They do grow because their customers provide the support those companies need by buying their "wonderful" products and hiring their services. Not by anything else.

Or when have you seen a company fully running without customers who buy what the company offers?. It doesn’t happen. Does it?

Who generates the reputation of a product or company? Is it the company itself or its clients?

It seems such companies have forgotten the very important role customers play in the life cycle and development of their business. I'm going to take this moment to review those roles with you:

  • First, we already know that it is the customers who keep companies running with the money they pay for products and services they buy. That is understood (at least, I hope you did understand it)
  • Therefore, depending on how long you can keep relationships with your customers alive and kicking, your business will be more or less stable. The specialists call it "customer lifetime value". Look it up on Google so you can see.
  • Customers generate your company, products or service’s reputation when they begin to talk about and comment it among their network, no matter the kind of network it is. If they do it on a positive way, great news for you. If they do it on the negative side, you have a serious problem on the making.

In order for us to understand each other, you should have clear that your project or business is not going anywhere until the following three things happen:

  • First, have customers who buy from you.
  • Second, that those first customers reward you with their confidence and come back to you and buy again.
  • And third, those happy customers recommend you with their peers who can also buy your products or services.

Simple, right?

But, if it is so simple, how is it then that in so many cases companies seem to think they are the center of attention here and not the customer?

It seems they believe their products are really wonderful, when a product is wonderful only because there are people who buy it very often.

Your project or company is not going anywhere without customers who buy what you have to sell.

I really am amazed every time I hear, or am a victim of situations like those I mentioned at the beginning. And it is that, really as a customer, it makes me feel very frustrated to interact with companies that make fun of you on your own face, without caring just a little bit, shameless and with no remorse at all.

But in the end, let us try (as always) to draw a positive lesson from all this.

Then we understood the relationship much deeply and added "as long as he pays"

I hope you have already realized why customers are vital to the development of your business, and that you are also aware of the things that would happen if your customers were not satisfied with what you offer and started to buy from you competitors. You do not want that, do you?

But it is also true that, like all things in life, these relationships have to have a limit, and that limit we set when we added to the phrase "Even if he is not right, he will always be your client," the condition "as long as he pays".

Because it is certainly true every customer is important and you should do your best to keep them happy at all times. Yes. That is definitely true, but ...

In every customer-supplier relationship there must be two winners. Must be a real win-win situation.

We have established the point from which we can say your client loses the right to be the most important part of the relationship and is no longer able to demand from you your best to keep them satisfied. And that point is the moment when the client, stops paying for services and products he gets from you, or the cost of keeping that customer happy is so high that it's no longer worth it.

Yes, because unfortunately, from that moment on there are no longer winner. There are no longer two entities satisfied and the benefits are only being received on your customer’s side: he continues to enjoy your services and products, but is not properly paying for them.

Or, it has been a customer so extremely problematic, that your company will be better off spending that time and effort into serving the rest of your customers base or, better yet, to get new customers.

In this last point I want to make something clear: When you are going to label a customer as "extraordinarily problematic" make sure it is not your own company and the service being offered the reason why your customer is so problematic.

You may realize that, in many cases, the problem is on this side of the table and not on the other one.

Photo Credit: Gustavo Frazao / View Portfolio 

Posts you will like to read on this blog and are related to this one:
¿Can your business exist without customers?
"Til Death Do Us Part" Doesn’t Exist In A Professional Relationship”
Beware With Customer's Tantrums Nowadays

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