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ho Says the Customer is Always Right?

Posted on June 5, 2001

by Diane Hughes

We all know the old adage, "The Customer is Always Right." If you are an online business owner or offline for that matter, you are on both sides of the subject almost everyday.



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Before I started my online business, I was just on one side ... the customer. I whole-heartedly believed in the above adage and never questioned it at all. In fact, I would get rather perturbed at ANY business owner, manager, or supervisor that would disagree with any complaint I had.

When I started my own online business back in 1997, I slowly began to learn the "other side."

My business products are all downloadable. If your business includes downloaded material, you know where I'm going with this one. I get NUMEROUS complaints EVERYDAY about usernames and passwords not working, corrupt downloads, and the big one ... "I can't open the download." Now I always reply in a very helpful gesture, but my first question is always, "Are you entering the username and password exactly as shown?" This seems to be one of the "biggies" with newbies. They do not understand "case-sensitive" -- heck -- they don't even know what that means!

But it doesn't matter HOW simple I make the instructions and overall download process, I STILL get these everyday. I am accused of being a "scammer" at least 4 - 5 times a week ... and that's on a GOOD week! :o)

The whole point of the above example is NOT that customers are wrong -- that's not the problem at all. Many of them are very new to the internet and sadly, they do not read through the directions most of the time. I have found that I basically have to put myself back into the "newbie" frame of mind -- as hard as that is to do! I don't remember NOT knowing how to download, enter case-sensitive passwords, etc.

You MUST try to understand that customer ... at the point of contact, whether by email or phone, they have probably sat there for HOURS trying to figure it out. They are irritated, angry, and they've pretty much decided at that point that you scammed them.

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Yes, it's irritating getting these "dumb" questions and emails even when you have them broken down so simply in the instructions. But face it, you're going to get them and you will get them often as more and more climb on the "web wagon."

When I get a very insulting email (yes, I HAVE been called the "B-word," the "MF-word," and recently a new one that I have never heard before ... it was quite disgusting), I do not answer it immediately. I let my initial anger subside. When I can read through it and giggle ... it's time to answer. I find that 80 - 90% of the time, the customer is VERY embarrassed of their initial email by the time I have helped them courteously through their problems.

I had to learn this process through time. Believe me ... I am a VERY sensitive person and I used to take these to heart. It HURT! I had to revert back to my "customer side" as well as the "newbie" frame of mind and do my best to understand the person's anger.

One angry customer can lead to thousands if not millions in lost business revenue! Especially on the internet. That one customer tells one friend who in turn tells another and so on a so forth. You COULD get a real "psycho" customer that decides to start a website all about YOUR company and YOUR poor service or product.

Watch that one spread like a virus! :o)

On the other hand, exercise great customer service (get those emails answered within 24 hours, folks) and watch the *praise* of your company spread! I guarantee that you just GAINED thousands in sales!

MOST importantly remember these three things:

** LOVE YOUR CUSTOMER

** UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMER

** VALUE YOUR CUSTOMER

You are NOTHING without them. Treat them like gold and you will RECEIVE gold in return!



Diane Hughes is an accomplished internet entrepreneur and editor of the popular ProBizTips Newsletter. You can learn more about Diane and her home employment opportunities by going to http://www.adminder.com/c.cgi?hnbco&article
 

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