It’s hard to face your mistakes. It’s even harder to own them. That’s not something our society teaches, far from it. There is a constant blame game where no one wins. We see it in the media and in politics. If someone were to step forward saying “It was me, I made a mistake,” the people of our society would swoop in like vultures with their uninformed criticism and judgement. Armchair experts coming down from their reclining seat of perfection. That’s sarcasm folks – just in case you missed it. It’s often just as bad when you’re dealing with customers or clients.
This is why, when I was a retail manager, I always said – the customer isn’t always right, they’re just misinformed. Why is the customer always right? Money. That’s pretty much the reason. This entire thought process just fuels the entitlement complex. Sure, we are all entitled to something. What you’re really entitled to isn’t the right to dictate the actions of others, even if money is involved. What it really should boil down to is education. The customer lacks the education and understanding. There’s an exception to this, hear me out. I said, they aren’t always right. It leaves a margin for those who are right and informed. Typically, those customers are the not the ones being jerks and using expletives. The ones who are, well, that type of customer won’t listen to rational explanations. They won’t hear your apology or even your ownership of the incident. All they care about is they’re right, you’re wrong and you’re going to hear about it because I want it for free.
Customer service is about troubleshooting and finding resolution.
I know several self-employed creators of goods who have been dealing with the type of customer who doesn’t wait for something to go wrong, they immediately make threats from the get go. Some of those customers fail to read policies or notifications and immediately report the purchase to the host site. Where has the patience and sense gone? It has slowly dwindled away into this sense of Wal-mart entitlement. Simple, answer. People want goods or services at Wal-Mart’s rock bottom prices. It’s not going to happen. The reality is, if you are only willing to pay cheap prices you are going to get cheap products. I’m not talking about an amazing flash sale from a creator, I’m talking about the mentality. A $350 handmade skirt is that price for a reason – materials and time. It’s not cheap. If you aren’t willing to get paid $1 an hour or less, then don’t presume that creator, artist, or freelancer would. Entitlement is an ugly thing.
Social media is a whole new type of customer service war zone. A one star review isn’t always an accurate reflection on. A company or services rendered. A bad review isn’t always what it seems. The ability to Hide behind screens has given people a rush of foolish bravery.
My advice when dealing with a bad customer, because they do exist, is to keep your cool. Don’t engage with them in a public battle. Most certainly, do not embarrass yourself in private by resorting to their level. Screenshots are a thing and they’ll come back to haunt you. On the other hand, they can be a great weapon for you to use. I screenshot anything I think is important. I delete trolls, but I screenshot it first. You’re going to have critics. I know I have them and that’s fine. Not everyone is going to be a fan. You just have to continue to do what you do. Pity posts about your critics and naysayers on your business blog is just tacky. If you’ve done it, I totally just called you tacky. Accept it, build a bridge and move on. Engage with your followers in a positive manner. It may not be easy, but you can do it.
Make no mistake about these late night posts, insomnia happens, and more may come in the future. The next blog post will focus on Social Media Marketing and Hashtags. Be sure to subscribe, don’t miss out.