The purpose of business is to create a customer. Simple yet why is it that many businesses give the impression that their customer is the enemy? It's absolutely true that the customer is not always right. It's also absolutely true that they are the customer. Sometimes, it's you who needs to file for divorce because nobody wants 'bad business'
How you behave in the face of irrational or emotional behaviour will determine if you kill your customer. Naturally, they'll carry on, the question is "Will you?"
Here are some wonderfully true examples I have come across. They might give a short whiff of victory but their impact will live on.
Thank You For Your Feedback ..... But
The opening lines of your response to a complaint seem sincere - but not for long. They start full of superficial gratitude "We really value your feedback" but quickly end with a small grenade. It's often called "but"
The Last Word
"And please don't come back" They have listened patiently and calmly. They smile their superior smile. They refund your entire stay. You're impressed (ish). They just can't help themselves, the volcano is simmering. They let loose: "You're very welcome but we would rather you don't come here again .... Sir!"
I'm Really Surprised
"In fact, I'm more than surprised, I'm astounded, astonished, shocked. In my 22 years, nobody has ever ever said our rooms were 'poor standard'. I'm simply dumbfounded"
It's just such a pity we don't believe you.
No ..... Thank You
The most basic element of good manners and humility is "Thank you". No "Thank you" simply means you didn't appreciate my money. Thing is, I did. I worked very hard for it.
"Stick them in Room 303. I know it's not good but they don't look very fussy (or even sophisticated - he said to himself)"
Not only were they not fussy, they were very humble, very rich and very successful. Although they didn't hear what he said, they saw it. Body language rarely lies.
What Would You Expect From Him?
The young manager couldn't help but agree with the guest. Their experience had been dreadful. He was in mid flow trying to revive a dying customer but 'Big Boy' just had to intervene. 'Big Boy' had a small moustache which didn't quite hide his thin smile. With a flourish, he dismissed their complaint with his standard "10% or we will allow you your day in Court. After all Mr & Mrs Smith, we are not here as a charity you'll understand"
Many people kill their customers before the customer has even got out of bed. Websites can destroy your image, brand and message. Of course, you'll never know they died at birth, you'll just know business is bad.
Websites that boast, brag, exude superiority and, worse still, talk about themselves, wreck your business and customers heads.
Imagine an opening line that says "We pride ourselves on ...."
You can just hear the distant reply from the customer with options "You keep on priding"
Anything you write on your website must talk to the customer, not about yourself.
Years ago, I saw a Music Hall type Postcard. It was terrific and colourful. The finely drawn cartoon showed a young man scratching his head as he surveyed his wrecked and brand new Ferrari. He had just bought it and got no further than half a mile before wrapping it around a lamppost. It was a write off. The caption was appropriate for this little piece on customers. It said;
"It take 3,464 bolts to hold a Ferrari together. It takes one Nut to dismantle it"