The “RIGHT” Customer is Always “Right”
If you’re like me you have heard this debate of “the customer is always right” vs. “the customer is not always right” going on for many years with both sides feeling very passionate about their position. Throwing one more discussion on top of these thousands won’t probably change your opinion one way or the other. So allow me to offer a different perspective and way to think about this age old dilemma.
Let’s say you have two different customers and both aren’t happy. Most people’s innate response will be to do whatever it takes to alleviate the consternation between the customer and the company…assuming you are concerned about your customers. Caring deeply about your customers is a great culture and attitude to have in your company…AFTER ASKING A KEY QUESTION.
“Should we even be serving this customer based on the personas we have identified as key to our business and the ones we have built our complete customer experience around to serve?”
This is the most critical question to ask before you decide to “make it right” and help out the customer. If this is not the persona you have identified as key to serve, you are putting all your hard work at high risk. While it might seem like an easy decision to just “make it right,” there can be some significant consequences to this decision you might want to consider before “making it right” for everyone.
First, if you have invested the time and money into your Customer Journey and creating remarkable Customer Experiences, you know which customers you have BUILT YOUR EXPERIENCE TO SERVE. If you deviate from this group of customers, the processes and systems you designed aren’t going to deliver an awesome experience. Sure, you can be friendly and nice but your systems and customer experience process aren’t designed to serve everyone with an awesome experience throughout their journey.
Second, When you decide to “make it right” for a customer outside of your identified personas, you most likely WON’T MAKE IT RIGHT…you can’t make them happy over time. You might change one touchpoint in a particular situation to please the wrong customer but you aren’t designed to deliver these “exceptions” over and over again…the customer will see this again and again and will be more and more unhappy. Your processes are designed to deliver an awesome experience to the “Sally’s” (your identified persona) and you are trying to appease the “Bob’s” (the wrong persona)…this creates frustration and greatly increases your risk.
Two outcomes occur when this happens…unfortunately, both aren’t good.
1. You end up upsetting the customer over time because all the touchpoints in your experience aren’t designed for this customer. They are designed for the “right customer” you spent considerable time in identifying and building an incredible, WOW experience for…the right customer personas. And regardless of how you might appease them during this one transaction, the entire customer experience process won’t make them happy because it isn’t designed to do what they want.
This is where you and the “wrong customer” are out of alignment. You might be able to deliver a few touchpoints they like and your people might be incredibly courteous, helpful, and friendly…but in the end you can’t deliver all the touchpoints they think are awesome…they will be disappointed. Unfortunately, this grows over time and with each interaction the customer has an expectation you can’t meet…because you didn’t design your experience that way. This misalignment will cause you to never make them happy…no matter how much you try because many of the touchpoints won’t align with their expectations. Over time, these “wrong customers” just get more and more upset and can’t figure out why you can’t serve them the way they want.
2. Since the “Bob” (wrong customer) sees you aren’t serving them the way they want they become unhappy…then they tell others. They tell their friends about the less than desirable experience and they tell anyone else that will listen…and thanks to the power of social media, you have thousands who now think you suck. And the real problem lies in the fact this won’t change because your customer experience processes weren’t designed to serve this persona…so you will continue to deliver your awesome experience to the wrong customer…who will always think it sucks from their perspective. Word-of-Mouth is now working firmly against your organization and all the great things you deliver in your customer experience…because it’s to the wrong customer persona.
And when someone sees this all over the internet, they may not immediately (or ever) know this is the “wrong persona” speaking, they just see them speaking…a lot. They see negative comments and how poorly they were treated and served. The “right customer” now makes an “uninformed” decision based on the feedback from the “wrong customer.” This is increasing your risk as a company and it will continue to grow because you haven’t changed your strategic customer experience process…because it was designed to serve the “right customer.” This is a downward spiral and one companies get caught up in because someone, even the wrong customer, is willing to pay them money for their services.
The biggest issue companies face today with the power of Social Media networks being used by virtually everyone in the world is this immediate, repetitive, and constant communications to audiences of thousands. Dialing your organization into the “right customer” enhances your positive Word-of-Mouth while trying to serve the “wrong customer” increases your negative Word-of-Mouth to thousands. Here’s the most important aspect to help you stay on the right track with your business and how you can leverage Social Media…
KNOW WHO YOUR “RIGHT CUSTOMER” IS AND GIVE THEM A REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE…SOMETHING MEMORABLE AND UNFORGETTABLE. At the same time, KNOW WHO THE “WRONG CUSTOMER” IS AND START SENDING THEM TO THE COMPETITION TO SERVE.
NOT ALL SALES ARE GOOD SALES…serving customers that are not in your “desired and identified personas” is more dangerous today than ever before. In the Industrial Revolution, one person might tell 20 others how they don’t like working with you. Today, in the Digital/Internet Revolution, they tell 10,000 via Social Media. The stakes have gone up significantly on serving the “wrong customer.”
Today it is more important than ever to identify your “DESIRED PERSONAS” and build a complete customer experience around serving these customers. BE BOLD and FIRE those customers that don’t fit into these desired personas. While you might lose some short-term revenues, you will save yourself from losing higher amounts of long-term revenues and you will PROTECT YOUR BRAND.
Your Brand should be built around serving the “right customers” and doing it with a remarkable experience that is better than anyone else in your industry…this is the true differentiator today.
Here’s the BIG OPPORTUNITY…
When you stand out with the “right customers” because you “made it right” for them they TELL OTHERS…lots of the “right customers”. Now you have the right people telling others who are just like them…the right “potential” customers. You have now started to generate massive WORD-OF-MOUTH to the right audiences because you have designed an incredible customer experience to serve this audience.
When this is happening, you should absolutely do what “MAKES IT RIGHT” for the customer because they are your desired audience and you are specifically designed to serve them in a way they feel is remarkable and incredible. This is how you get people talking about your BRAND in the right way to the right people. So back to the beginning debate of whether the customer is always right…
The RIGHT CUSTOMER is ALWAYS RIGHT!!
Thanks for reading…If you found this helpful, please hit the ‘heart’ and ‘share’ buttons below. It not only means a lot to me but it helps other people see the story. And if this resonated with you, please visit my WOM10 site and read more posts like this one…have an awesome day!