Now, anyone who has read my book, God’s Business, knows my feelings on the Business -Customer relationship. Overall it lacks compassion, and as a result both parties only commit to do the minimum to keep interactions civil. Yesterday I was visiting one of my favorite success stories as a coach, and while we were discussing her most recent location, she brought up the challenges she had with the “Customer is Always Right” standard. She went on to say that, obviously the customer is NOT ALWAYS right, but as a good business she needed to treat them as such. However, as a business this can be difficult at times because the dissatisfaction or the hostility may be out of your control, or not within your ability to fix. So what do you do?
For the first time since we published, my theory of “Client Provision” was put to the test. So I exited the business with very little to respond with beyond your traditional “Well, sometimes you just need to be the bigger person”. I went to my car and did a few more of my coaching calls for the day. In between calls it was just bothering me that there was nothing else to offer towards the situation. Then after my final call for the day, I sat out in the parking lot to figure it out. THEN IT HIT ME! The Customer may not always be right, but the CLIENT IS ALWAYS IN NEED!
In coaching, we often relay to our clients that hostility from a person can sometimes be from a source other than you, and that you may just be the receiver. Other times, believe it or not, some clients use negativity to take control of a situation because without control they feel vulnerability and anxiety. While this covers 2 of the main reasons, there are so many more than I have time to name here. However, below is a strategy that can help you handle any situation where an interaction with a client takes a turn for the worse.
1. Every interaction– especially the less positive ones– are an opportunity to demonstrate the core of our faith –
The first step is to get back to the core of our faith. We do not respond to the sword with another sword. No one wins a battle between client and business. Turn on your compassion, and keep a level head and an open heart. Remember Matthew 5:46 “”For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
2. Listen with an open heart so you can “HEAR” what they are saying-
In EVERY situation hostility is a cry for help. The transgression may not be by our hand, and in many cases we may not be able to do anything to remedy the immediate situation. However, we ALWAYS have the opportunity to “Hear” them so that we get a true understanding of what they need. Sometimes, even when we are not the guilty party, we may have resources that can fix the situation.
3. Sometimes our clients are telling us what we NEED to hear and not what we want to… Treat it as the gift it really is-
There are many times that their concern is legitimate. We may not have communicated appropriately, we may have over promised, or sometimes we just make mistakes. In these situations, if we start defending ourselves we may miss out on an opportunity to get better. If a client brings you a concern, and you return with care and compassion, they may tell you exactly what happened, how it can be fixed, and, in essence, improve how you do business going forward. Some of the best solutions I have ever heard have come from the clients of my clients because,instead of defending they accepted the feedback. In addition in doing so, the client almost ALWAYS is gracious of your acceptance, and feels as if you actually care. I tell people all the time: mistakes are inevitable, and most people understand that… it is how we handle them that sets us apart.
4. Other times what we are hearing is a CRY FOR HELP, and we are called to be compassionate!-
Finally, there are sometimes where our only option is to listen. We may have no control, no solution, and no counsel to give at all. That does not necessarily mean you have nothing to offer… Anger usually stems from people who feel they are unloved, and by being compassionate and showing love we may satisfy them.
I hope this insight gives you a new perspective in dealing with your clients and their needs.
MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS!!