One of the sad facts of business most people choose to ignore (or never learned) is it is never about you. Interactions with customers are never about what you want, what you need, what you care about, or anything else having to do with you. If you want to matter to your customers, what you care about doesn’t matter. This is especially true when customers are upset – which is why you’re there.
If your customer is angry, deal with it. It’s not about you.
If your customer wants you to go the extra mile, do it. It’s not about you.
If your customer wants you to do something faster, do what you can to get it done fast. It’s not about you.
If your customer has had a bad day and is taking it out on you, it’s too bad. It’s not about you.
If your customer has his or her own way of doing things that is effective for him or her, try to work within that system. It’s not about you.
If your customer is a horse’s you-know-what, even then, it’s not about you (this doesn’t include abusive customers.
It’s always about your customers. They’re your best friends.
I had just finished speaking at a conference when a member of the audience walked up to me and handed me a pay stub from a recent paycheck. I wasn’t quite sure why this woman wanted me to see her pay stub unless it was to show me that she made more money than I did.
I looked at her quizzically, and before I could say anything, she said, “Look what it says on the bottom of the pay stub.” I glanced down and there it was: a revelation that told me this company “gets it.”
“This paycheck is brought to you by your customers.”
My eyes grew wide and so did my smile. This company reminded its people every other week just who was responsible for the company’s success and that without that success, there would be no company. And there would be no job.
They could have communicated this by putting a huge poster on the wall, but that wouldn’t have made the impact that seeing this statement associated with the employee’s pay had made. In other words, the food you put on your table, the car you just bought, the college education you’re paying for, the ability to pay for the mortgage, the vacation in the Bahamas, and that new videogame system are all brought to you by your customers. What nice people they are to give you this money!
Now, we know that you worked very hard and you’re very good at what you do, but in the end, if the customer doesn’t pay the bills, there’s no place for you to do this work.
Customers are your best friends. They make sure your salary is paid. Or, if you’re in your own business, they make sure you make a profit – and remain in business. That’s why it’s never about you.
Think about how you treat your best friends. If they’ve been good friends for a long time, you’re clearly doing something right. You’re probably putting their needs before yours, giving them the benefit of the doubt and sharing the responsibilities for whatever you decide to do together. In other words, when you’re best friends, you make it about them and they make it about you. Now think about a time when you got into a fight with your best friend. Odds are that something happened where you made it about you (or vice versa).
The customer isn’t always right. The customer isn’t always nice. But it’s always about the customer. So next time you begin to think, “Who does this guy think he is?” keep repeating “It’s not about me … it’s not about me … it’s not about me.” Then, make it a positive experience for the customer.
When you make it about them, they’ll make it about you.
Tags: angry customers, bad experience, bad service, customer expectations, customer experience, Customer Experience Ownership, customer service, customer service training, idiot customers, impersonal service, not about you, upset customers