I know that all business owners want their customers to love them, their service and the products you provide. The challenge comes when we fall down on our promises.

But I now know that falling down is not an issue when we have our promises right. The key is to ensure your promises align with what you do, and don’t say things that aren’t true.

 

Transcript

I know that all business owners want their customers to love them, their service and the products that you provide. You know, the challenge comes when we fall down on our promises.

But I now know that falling down is not an issue when we have our promises right.

The key is to ensure your promises align with what you do, and don't say things that aren't true, it's just a really bad thing to do.

It doesn't matter what type of business you're in, if your customers can trust and believe in your words, they will love you and love what you do.

After all, what customers really like are businesses that do everything they say they're going to do and more.

I know that occasionally you fall down on your service, we all do. The question comes, what do you do when this happens?

Let me tell you about a time where a business really stood up and took the proverbial lemons and made lemonade out of them.

I used to play a lot of tennis, and I had three tennis rackets. Unfortunately all three needed to be strung at the same time. So I brought them in to my local sports shop, which I've been doing business with for years. They told me the rackets would be ready first thing the next morning. So I show up the first thing the next morning right when they open and ready to get my tennis rackets, anxious to go play some tennis, and guess what? The rackets weren't ready. They sort of apologized and they said "Well okay, come back at 4:00 and the rackets will be ready." So I came back at 4:00, had to take another trip down to the sports shop, and guess what? The rackets still weren't ready, so I blew a gasket. Now I probably shouldn't have blown a gasket, but I did. So I left sure I was never going to do business with this place again.

So the next morning at 8:00, in walks the owner of the shop and she brings me my three rackets strung, won't take a cent from me, apologizes profusely, and leaves me my rackets. So not only did she fix the problem, she went way over and above in fixing the problem. She delivered the rackets, she apologized and then she left. Now, that was a 60 or $80,000 decision that she made because I spent between 2 and $5,000 a year, and for the next 30 years I kept buying stuff from them until they sold the business. That was a pretty good thing to do.

I know you've heard the saying, "The customer is always right." In most instances that's true, that is if you want to keep your customer.

I had an experience several years ago in our food service company that points this out in really good detail.

Now our food service company had a catering division and we did a lot of summer picnics. We had this client that was a good size client, they were doing about $75,000 a year with us in business. And they asked us to cater their summer picnic, which was a chicken dinner, which we did. Unfortunately, we packed the chicken in the wrong way and we had two pieces of sour chicken. Not bad chicken, just sour chicken. So after the event, our contact calls me up and says, "We have a problem." I hate when I get that opening to a call, don't you? Well at any rate, he said "We had this sour chicken." And I said "Okay, what would you like us to do?" I was expecting him to say, "Give us a couple hundred dollars" or "Give us a hundred dollars" or "Give us the price of the dinners back." No, he wanted the entire bill rebated, all $5,000.

Now in the 80s, $5,000 was a lot of money. And I sat there and we had a money-back guarantee where we guarantee that you would love what we did, or we would give your money back, no questions. I gulped, I asked him "Are you sure you want the whole bill rebated?" And he said "Yes." I decided to do that, and it was the right thing to do because if I had not done that, he would've likely replaced us as his vending company operator. Well we kept the business for another 20 years, that was worth about $150,000. So the question I have, is a $5,000 rebate a good enough thing to keep your business for $150,000? I thought it was.

The moral to both of these stories is sometimes customers are unreasonable.

In the first story, I was the unreasonable one. The second story, my customer was unreasonable. Because the sports shop took care of my problem, they kept me as a customer for the next 30 years. Because we took care of our catering client we kept their business for the next 10 years til I sold my business. So that was a really big deal.

I'm betting that you want your customers to love you. I know this sounds a little crazy, but when you fall on your face is the time you can shine and make a customer want to stay with you for life. I know you don't want to fall on your face, so instead why don't you just make your promises explicit and then follow up to make sure your company delivers on the promises you make.

I would love to have a conversation with you about how you can make your customers love you so feel free contacting me at jpatrick@stage2planning.com to set up a time to talk.

While you're at it, scroll down let me know what you think about taking care of your customers when you make a mistake and going out of your way, even when it's expensive and inconvenient.

This is Josh Patrick. You're at the Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.

 

Topics: serving customers, keep customer, serving clients, customer focused, client oriented service, mistakes as opportunity

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