“Be your customer’s lawyer, not gatekeeper”

This was the advice my founder gave me after I’d got off a call with a client. I was sitting next to him working away at my laptop when I got a call from a person who’d started using our platform a few months back. She was quite concerned that she might not be getting all that we’d promised her as a part of the subscription.

I found her concerns quite unfounded since I knew the extent to which we usually went to ensure that all our customers’ needs were met and met well. In fact, in this particular customer’s case, we had delivered much more than what was agreed upon!

So my knee-jerk reaction was to tell her, quite bluntly, that she had nothing to worry about since she was getting all that was discussed and more. She wasn’t convinced, though. She argued that there were certain things she thought she should be receiving that she thought she wasn’t. I explained to her that these were a part of the higher subscription pack. She was unhappy. So I told her that I would add these other features for a few days if she’d like and she could get back to us in case she wanted to upgrade. She agreed, and we hung up soon after.

My founder turned to me and said, “That was one frictionfull call. Who were you speaking to?” I gave him the context. He said, “Your job is to be the customer’s lawyer within the company- not his gatekeeper. Instead of confronting them the way you did, why don’t you first see what they want and where their concern is stemming from? You anyway ended up giving them what they wanted- you could have played the role of their friend, offered them the same thing and earned their goodwill! Instead of saying bluntly, ‘we are already making sure that you’re getting what we promised’, why don’t you say, ‘I understand your concerns. let me go back to the team and double check. In the meantime, would it help if I also add certain features from the higher pack so that you can play around? Take your time and let us know if you like them’ That will make the person feel like their voice is heard and concerns understood”.

That made a lot of sense to me. How much effort does it really take to be a little thoughtful? perhaps the same amount as it takes to be blunt. In fact, I found what he said very applicable to day-to-day relationships as well. Might as well do that which earns some brownie points with others, don’t you think? :)

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