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Your Customers Pay Your Wages

Life is full of clichés.

You know this one:  "The customer is always right!"

We all know this is not literally true. Often a customer needs your guidance or expertise to find out about what you can do for them. The customer does not necessarily know as much about your product or service as you do, and may very well have a misconception about your offering. If put to a test, the customer may very well "get it wrong."

But the customer is always right about one aspect of doing business with you. When you help them discover how your service fits their needs, and you help them decide to buy it, they are one hundred percent right in expecting value for the money they spend with you.

And they expect something else as well. They expect your respect.

You may think I'm stating the obvious, and I am. But how many times have you been on the receiving end of less than satisfactory treatment by someone who acted as though they were doing you an enormous favour by serving you?

I remember vividly one experience from some years ago.

It was time to upgrade the old TV set and a well known electrical goods retailer had advertised a special offer on a great looking state of the art model for $995. I was virtually sold on it before getting in the car to drive to the store. But I did want to know a little more about it before handing over the money.

I walked into the store, found my way to the TV section and saw the set on display in all its glory. I walked around it, noted the special price tag, picked up the specification sheet and perused it, and looked across the open space for a salesperson to assist me. There were two standing chatting to each other at the sales desk. Another was talking to a customer, and another was tidying up a display in the toaster department. Nobody even acknowledged my presence.

I walked around the TV set again, admired it from close up, looked across at the two chatting sales staff who continued to ignore me, and walked out of the store.

Conveniently, one of their major competitors was right next door. So I went through the same process there. And I was astounded by an almost identical lack of service.

Back into the car. I drove to another competitor's store fully three minutes down the road, prepared for the worst.

To cut the story short, I was greeted at the door by a polite and genuine young lady who invited me to look around and assured me she would do her best to see that I got what I wanted. When I told her what I wanted, she informed me that they didn't carry that brand, but showed me another which might suit. It did.

I left that retailer with a new TV, a VCR and a microwave oven. And I felt good about it. I had spent significantly more than the anticipated $995, and I hope that salesperson received a suitable commission. I'm sure she did, and I'm sure that store did well.

I've shopped there again since that experience, and I've recommended them to others.

Is this an unusual story? No. I've heard of similar experiences on many occasions.

It inspired me to put together a short checklist for business owners and their employees. It's called How to Ruin Your Business. You might find it amusing or you might find it useful. You can download it here. It's free.









ã Copyright 2008 Active Business Systems Pty Ltd                        Last updated 18 December, 2008