Recently, we here at TransTeach have been looking back over the last 7 years and taking stock of what we’ve learnt and the lessons we still need to work on. A good business never sits still. There is always more room for evaluation, modification and the implementation of new strategies!
One of the most surprising things we’ve found is that our attitude to our customers has changed significantly, predominantly owing to our increasing experience and confidence in the services we offer. When we started out, we were under the impression that ‘the customer is always right’ (after all, it’s a notion that society practically drills into you from birth these days). Consequently, we often accepted criticism, made changes to work we had delivered and basically, did everything in our power to ensure the customer was happy…often at the expense both of our coffers and of our sanity!
As time has passed, we’ve come to favour a new approach, one which we believe is fairer, and probably healthier, for both our customers and ourselves. The customer isn’t, in fact, always right. Sometimes they’re downright wrong! The art is in having them think that you believe they are right and also in training them so that they have a better understanding of what ‘right’ looks like. So, how do we do things now?
1) Educate your customer
Well, when it comes to criticism which is undeserved, we no longer sit silently in the firing line. Instead, we diplomatically explain why and how the customer’s expectations do not tally with the service we were originally asked to provide.
2) Value your services. If you don’t no-one will…
When the customer wants us to work through the night for a rate that is, frankly, risible, we explain that we are a professional outfit and consequently don’t do last minute jobs for peanuts – but we’re sure someone somewhere might, if they’re lucky, with the inevitable risk in terms of quality and delivery. It’s funny how often deadlines and the rate offered suddenly become negotiable as a result. An attitude of self-worth really can take you a long way.
At TransTeach, we’ve stopped thinking about things in black and white, in terms of right and wrong. WIth a big helping of tact, we now find that prioritising our own interests as well as those of our client makes for a much happier and more profitable partnership with our customers. Do we need them? Undoubtedly. But do they need us? Absolutely! As far as we’re concerned, therefore, ultimately, everyone is right. It just depends which side of the service fence you’re sitting on 🙂
If you found this post helpful or have any more questions about dealing with customers. drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.