Upset Customer? Opportunity Knocks!

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If you were to ask most companies what their goal might be in regard to customer relations, many would probably say that they want their customers to be “satisfied” with their product or service. They want them to be “happy”. Well, especially today, “happy” and “satisfied” just ain’t gonna’ cut it. If you want to create a memorable experience for your client, the goal of “meeting their expectations” has to be replaced by “far exceeding their expectations”. Think about the following …..

  1. Every buyer enters into a transaction with the expectation that all will go as planned.
  2. Assuming this transaction went smoothly, has this created a memorable experience? No. It went exactly as expected.
  3. So, let’s look at this … 9 out of 10 transactions will occur with nothing notable occurring, good or bad. Of those 9 transactions, 2 were memorable because expectations were exceeded. What about the other 7? Nothing. The outcome of these was totally neutral. Honestly, in terms of any effect on potential repeat business, it’s like they never even happened.
  4. How about the one deal that went horribly bad? This transaction has the potential to be one of two things … horribly bad or outstandingly memorable!

Whenever I buy something, and particularly an item that may require some sort of service or support in the future, in the back of my mind I am always wondering …. “Yeah, this sucker works great now but, what is going to happen when I need to get service?”. For me, this is a nagging unknown that I continue to ponder. On the other hand, something goes very wrong from the get go and now this vendor is going to step up to the plate and do one of three things …..

  1. Hit a single (meet my expectations)
  2. Strike Out (and severely piss me off in the process)
  3. or hit a HOME RUN and greatly exceed my expectations while at the same time answering my lingering concerns about what will happen if I ever do need service. As a matter of fact, this is a “bases loaded” home run!

Yes, quite often your best opportunity to exceed customer expectations is to do whatever is necessary to correct whatever problem has occurred and to do so in a timely and painless manner.  Done correctly, you will actually have a stronger customer relationship than you would have had if the problem had never happened in the first place. Now the customer will be telling others .. “You know, I was pretty excited to have this widget and then it broke down. But, you can’t believe the lengths the vendor went to in order to correct the situation and ensure my satisfaction. They were fantastic!”. Hmmmm. Let’s see. I can buy product “A” and wonder what will happen when it breaks or I can buy product “B” and “Joe” has already told me about their great service. Tough decision ….. NOT (smile).

Of course, you must also remember the rules when it comes to “good news and bad news”. Good news travels quickly but bad news? How about “Bad News + Twitter = Potential Public Relations Disaster”? Or … maybe you should search YouTube for “United Breaks Guitars“. When I have a bad experience you can be assured that I will tell at least 10 people. With each person I share my misfortune with, I get exponentially better at telling my tale of woes. I get so good at it that people will want to share my story (your story) with others. Almost worse is the fact that when it comes to bad experiences, I have the memory of an elephant. If your name comes up, it’s going to be “mud”. You and I will never do business again. On the flip side, I will generously sing your praises should you take care of business & ensure my satisfaction. This, too, I will put on Twitter 🙂

Thanks for visiting!


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Author: Craig M. Jamieson

Craig M. Jamieson is a lifelong B2B salesperson, manager, owner, and a networking enthusiast. Adaptive Business Services provides solutions related to the sales professional including Boise's best B2B leads groups, NetWorks! Boise Valley. We are a Nimble SCRM and a HootSuite Solution Partner and a Value Added Associate for TTI Performance Systems. Craig also conducts training and workshops primarily in social selling.