When the Customer Isn’t Always Right

Service is one of our company core values, as is a commitment to excellence. It’s been our experience that the two go hand-in-hand to optimally serve our customers. Contrarily, the two values clash when customers are unreasonable or unwilling to do their part. For example, a customer that expects immediate answers to inquiries, but fails to employ our recommendations.

Recently, such was the case with a customer — and consequently, we no longer work together.

Truthfully, the relationship was turbulent for some time. We delivered on our promise to respond quickly to and deliver solutions that exceeded their expectations. However, it’s challenging to commit to excellence for customers who are reluctant to truly understand social media. Because anyone can boost a post, doesn’t mean anyone should… particularly when hundreds of dollars are spent on content misaligned with the brand, the copy is full of typos and poor grammar, and the accompanying graphic is visually unappealing or cuts off. Sadly, this occurred frequently. We had several conversations with the owners in hopes they would understand that their actions were damaging their reputation, but our feedback fell on deaf ears.

When customer service becomes pleasing the customer, at all costs — even when it’s to their detriment — there must be a reality check. For us, it’s when we realize we will fail to live up to our commitment to excellence. Our only regret is that waited so long to take a firm stand, as we had hoped things would improve. Ultimately, this hope only defined insanity.

What changed? Why did we decide to remain steadfast in our approach now, when we’ve already allowed this behavior to happen repeatedly?

In all honesty, it was because we simply had enough. If this experience taught us anything, it’s that we will not wait until we’ve lost our minds before we decided it’s time for expectations check. Customer service is not saying yes to everything; it’s not looking the other way at things a CEO would prefer to handle when the mood strikes. Customer service is doing the right thing for the customer, all the time. And that’s why a commitment to excellence must be partnered with customer service.

In our statement of core values, we list bullet points that share what that value means to our company. The final bullet of the value commitment to excellence read, “We are accountable to ourselves and to our customers; likewise, we hold the customer accountable; to generate successful outcomes, it takes a partnership.”

 

Indeed, it does.

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