We’ve all heard the age-old adage, “the customer is always right.” But how many of us have been made to feel as though we are an inconvenience when we are a customer asking for something? I don’t know about you, but when I have to make a special request, or ask for something a little bit out of the ordinary, I usually apologize for being “a pain” or something along those lines. It is in these moments that a business’ customer service is really put to the test. Does the person working make it obvious that they are annoyed with the request? Or do they smile and assure the customer that it really is not a problem at all (and mean it when they say it, of course)?
The fact of the matter is, the customer is probably not always “right.” Maybe they are asking for something that is a little bit annoying, or borderline impossible to deliver. Even so, they should never be made to feel as if they are an inconvenience. If I were in a managerial position, I would be telling my employees to replace “the customer is always right” with “the customer is never an inconvenience.” Because they are not an inconvenience, they are patronizing your business. The actions of the employees should show that this is highly appreciated.
Think of the best service you have ever received in this area. It’s easiest to think of restaurant examples, I think. Sometimes, you want to ask for something that isn’t exactly on the menu, or perhaps you would like some sort of variation on an item that is. You ask the waiter or waitress if you might be able to order said item. The best ones will respond with something like, “oh sure, we can do that. No big deal!” This response puts you, the customer, at ease, and makes you feel welcome in that place.
Similar scenarios can pop up at any business, really. Whenever you are receiving a service from a business, and need to make a special request, you are probably nervous that you are being an inconvenience. Some people don’t even ask for things because they don’t want to feel that way. When the person working is aware of this, and goes out of their way to make the customer feel comfortable, to make it clear that they are not an inconvenience and that the request they made is really not so silly or out of the ordinary–that is what makes their business stand out from the rest, and it keeps people coming back (and writing blog posts about that very topic!).
Let’s face it. Every once in a while, a customer will make a request that really is an inconvenience, or something that simply can not be done. In these rare situations, the person working should be extremely apologetic. Maybe even give them a coupon to use in the future. Or ask them some questions to get to the bottom of what they really need, then try to figure out some way to satisfy it. Most people are reasonable, and will at least appreciate the effort.
If you deliver any sort of service to customers as a part of your job, and are looking for a new mantra to inspire your day-to-day interactions, try “the customer is never an inconvenience.” The customers will thank you for it–and the positive shift in attitude might help you in difficult situations as well.