Are you one of those people that wants to please everyone? I was one of those people and still am in some ways.
However, I discovered that the customer is not always right. The customer can not get everything they want. If you allow them they will bully you into running your company into the ground. Sink your ship, and wave your flag high in the sky!! Okay maybe not the flag bit you get my point right.
I’ve worked for companies that will do almost anything to avoid an unhappy customer/client. Of course, I was working as a private contractor, and in the end, they would just throw you under the bus to save face. All for the sake of the Brand. Don’t get me wrong the brand is important you are worth more than you know.
Who can hurt your business and its operations more than a former employee or client? Trust your employees and get their side of the store before you jump to conclusions. One unhappy client that didn’t get everything they hoped for is not going to damage your business as much as you think.
Let’s take this apart in steps.
1. Client/customer contacts your business for goods or services.
2. Information (data) is gathered by email, phone or another means.
3. An appointment is set to help the client with what they want. (This step could be the end of the relationship or the beginning)
4. Your business does a little research into what the client wants. ( yes or no we can help you)
5. This is where things go south because we say sure I/ we can do that! When we are saying inside “how in the Hell am I going to do this.”
6. We have all been there. It’s our people-pleaser way. Face it, you are not Macdonald’s “have it your way!” doesn’t work for everyone. Okay, probably a bad example because they made it work. However, unless you’re serving Burgers 🍔 you probably won’t succeed.
7. It has taken me ten years to learn this lesson. Sometimes I see a desperate client in need of help and I want to be that superhero that saves the day. Don’t do it!
From Superhero to Vivian in a blink of an eye! There’s a reason why no one else wants to help them. I heard the countless reason why they came to me. In my case, they tell me Best Buy is too busy. (Aka I want it fast!) Nobody else called me back. (Aka they sounded desperate on the VM). Everyone’s prices are too high. (Aka, not only do I want it fast but I want it to be cheap). Sometimes they will send you an estimate of what they want to pay. ( This happened to me).
Beware of traps!
Some people look for free goods or services. If the guy is unemployed and wants a $25,000 home theater installation that’s a red flag. Better get all the money upfront for everything you can. Sure he might have the money but he also might be planning on not paying for services. He just might think he’s a citizen lawyer and got away with it once and now starting a pattern of corruption. That kind of client will count on you to say “the customers are always right.” He will count on you not taking him to court because he’s going to file first for a bogus reason. Most courts will lean towards the person who filed first. This will cost you time and money which the customer also knows.
You can bet the traps and avoid a lawsuit. Documentation is the key to success. Keep files on everyone you talk to even if you didn’t get hired. Use a 3rd party service because in court it’s illegal to record a voice conversation without the other party being aware of the recording. However, never underestimate the power of emails. They will give you overwhelming evidence in court if you ever had to defend yourself or your business. These people who try to use the system for financial gain depend on your sloppy record-keeping for the win. 🏆
Lastly, if you feel things are going south with a client/ customer….
Fire the customer or client and cut all business with them. We have that right! You’ve seen the signs in maybe a restaurant that say “we have the right to refuse service to anyone ….” Why have the sign or disclaimer on your website and documents if you are too afraid to use it? I’ve had to fire two clients in my over 10 years of service. I use the word “FIRED” because it denotes that we are no longer doing business. It drives a deep-down fear into them because nobody likes to be fired. The relationship is usually pointless at this junction anyway.
Be the BOSS!
You worked hard to build your company. Don’t let one person ruin your outlook. Don’t give up because one client didn’t get what they wanted. People have unreasonable goals and were probably spoiled rotten brats as kids. They are now spoiled rotten brats as adults. “I can’t make this happen for you right now.” Get used to saying it because it will save you and your business from a great headache. Take a quote from Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore to Bob Barker ” The price is wrong Bob!”
This is a term I coined! (Business Bullying). B2B relationships can be one-sided. If called you so I’m the boss right. Not true! You are colleagues doing business together. You both should have mutual respect for one another business. Sure one colleague is going to take the lead on the project. This does not make your company less important. You can still stand up for your key values. Don’t comprise everything you built because someone else is steering the ship currently. They will respect you more if you voice your concerns. Remember a good business person will listen to those around him. Take in data and process it with an open mind. Just because you have never seen it done that way does not mean it doesn’t work. Work together to solve the problems as they arrive. Use your experience and your B2B partnership to combine that knowledge into one database. It’s not a competition of wits. Forgo your ego and learn something new that your business can grow from.
Do you think Macdonald’s listens to their employees? I recently over heard Macdonald’s employees being reviewed. They always ask them “how can we help you better serve our customers.” They are not looking for complaints from customers but from the employees because they are the ones who hear the complaints firsthand. Fix your business from the inside. Everything else will fall into place.
Only you can help yourself and your business. Either you are cut out to become successful or not. Either you are a leader or a follower. Don’t worry even followers can be successful. Sometimes the right-hand person is the one that is holding the business together. They just might not like dealing with people. Consequently, they are the light that keeps the business growing in the right direction. Keep shining your light because the owner knows who you are. Maybe they don’t say how much they appreciate you because it would make the other employees jealous. Look for that approved smile from them. Keep up the good work because when they make it big so do you!
Money isn’t everything!
Money isn’t going to solve all your problems. Sure it will help your business grow. However, compromising your core values and taking on risky clients is dangerous. Use your gut, an extra sensory prescription of the mind. When you feel some things are not right, move on. It’s not worth the hassle because you need this client’s money. Believe me, they will cost you much more than they are worth. Fill the gap with a few smaller jobs and less stress. In the end, you will thank me. Let my experience with failed clients be your guide around these time booms. I only wish I had an article or mentor to have helped me steer around these toxic people. Consequently, I’m still learning and will never stop because if I don’t my business will be left behind. I’m in no way perfect, but I can offer help to those who want it. I can’t force anyone to read this article but I can get the information out there for anyone to find. I encourage you to please share your experiences as well.
Dave Borgne. 810 294-0355 DaveTheNerdGuy LLC. email@example.com