Even if you were right would you continue an argument that could cost you a customer or even worse, your business? When we are rational we would say no.
But an exchange I saw online today reminds me that people are not rational and with social media somebody is always watching.
This morning a friend shared an exchange between a veterinary clinic and their customer. The dialogue took place via text message and was screen shot for all the world to see. A customer who had their cat in for a procedure ended up coming home with fleas. If you were the vet how would you handle this?
In this circumstance the vet proceeded to blame the customer for the problem and complain that he had to handle the problem without charging the customer. The exchange continued to escalate. By the end of the conversation the vet was fully invested in making sure he won the battle but at what cost? Even the customer gave warning to the vet to stop or they would post the text online. He had an out and chose to continue.
The result is the argument is posted online for everyone to see. The court of public opinion can be a brutal one. You may feel you got the last word and it could prove expensive.
Success of any business depends on its leadership & values
It’s not just the business’ product & service it provides that builds its success, but the values behind the leadership in how the customer is served.
Once it’s in social media it’s there forever. Today people are quick to judge based on a snapshot of information.
For all I know this person could be a kind soul who had a bad day, but we don’t get all the information and people won’t take the time to find out.
Being Right vs. Saving the Customer Relationship
Making the decision to put the customer first by saving the customer relationship would have created a win-win situation; saving embarassment and disappointment for all parties involved. The following steps can build loyalty instead of tearing it down:
1. Apologize to the customer – “We’re so sorry this happened”
2. Thank the customer – “Thank you for alerting us to this problem”
3. Explain what you are going to do – “Please bring your cat back in and we will handle it. Our staff is going through to find out where the problem could have originated, and we are cleaning everything.”
4. Fix the problem with a reasonable solution – Sometimes customers can make unreasonable demands. Share what you are able to do to resolve the issue. Be polite.
5. Follow up – After things are corrected check back in to make sure everything is OK.
Making the Right Choice – Not Always Being Right
So if the vet had made the right choice instead of choosing to be right, they may have created a raving fan. This is not to say the customer is always right. A business owner needs to weigh the cost of being right over an unhappy client. Sometimes no matter what you do you can’t win.
Consequently you choose how to control your business and the success that surrounds it. Give others great things to talk about so you can live to fight another day.