The customer is NOT always right.
We’ve trained ourselves to believe this, but accepting it as dogma will get you into trouble.
Imagine you work in a sushi restaurant and a customer sits down and tells you they want a burger.
Obviously, you don’t have hamburgers, and you tell them that.
If the customer loses their mind and yells, “You guys should have burgers on the menu, this is what I want, so someone better make it happen for me,” are they right?
Even though you don’t have one ounce of ground beef (or even fake meat) in your kitchen, should you change up everything you do just to satisfy that one customer, just so you don’t lose the business?
This example might seem silly, but people do things like this every day—particularly in smaller and/or newer businesses.
They bend over backwards to break their process because they don’t want to lose out on the revenue or lose a customer, even when that customer can be damaging, or even belligerent.
Customers like that are, in fact, worth losing. NO customer is worth keeping if it only serves THEM. What’s best for the company AND the customer has to be considered.
We’ve encountered this situation at Scribe many times. When we make accommodations for an Author that are far outside our process, there is a huge ripple effect for the company. There is almost never a case where only one person is affected.
The customer is typically happy—temporarily.
But when we start going down the path of shaping our process to them, it becomes a slippery slope that’s almost impossible to climb back up.
Because then they want something else off process.
And then another.
You teach people how to treat you, and we taught them they can get whatever they want.
Before we know it, we’ve given all these concessions, and NOBODY is happy, including the Author, because by the time we’ve gotten to the end, what we delivered is not our best possible quality because it didn’t follow our process in the first place.
It’s hard but necessary work to get comfortable saying “no” to a customer when we know it’s going to be best for everyone involved.
Authors come to us because we are experts in our field. We know that taking huge steps outside of the way we do business will lead to a terrible experience not only for our Authors, but for the members of our Tribe.
We believe this so firmly that we are willing to part ways—and provide a full refund—if the fit isn’t right. We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again.
Does it hurt financially? Only in the short term.
Does it stop problems before they occur and save future financial and reputational loss? Absolutely.
Being forthright and honest with customers to let them know that they are not right in these situations is doing a kindness for both us and them. It ensures that they will have the best possible experience because they will receive a high-quality product.
It saves both time and money for everyone involved.
Because let’s face it: No one is going to get the best hamburger they’ve ever had from a sushi joint, no matter how right they want to be.