Do you want to keep hold of your customers?
I was reading an article this week about another ‘Winter Wonderland’ having to close its doors because it failed to live up the promised ‘little bit of Lapland on your doorstep’. The disappointment of plenty of excited kids and anger of parents who had paid out significant amount of money was again something that I am frustrated by, because I don’t think it is necessary. By simply thinking before you set out to attract your customer you can ensure that they will be delighted.
The simple adage of under promising and over delivering is one I have tried to live my business life by, that, and accepting responsibility for when things go wrong, has always worked for me. I know that often things that go wrong are beyond your control, that suppliers will let you down, and that other outside influences will get in the way, but ultimately you have taken responsibility by making the sale, and I feel you must accept that. If you put your best efforts into setting up very manageable expectations, then you most likely to avoid things going wrong, but when they do, accepting responsibility (but of course not liability) will regularly disarm complaints.
Most customers understand that you cannot control outside forces, but I personally (and believe many others are similar) hate when I am face with the shrugged shoulder approach, when the responsibility is placed in the hands of suppliers, of other members of an organisation or even the weather. My approach is to apologise because I have not delivered and emphasise with the frustration and go out of my way to find a solution. Sometimes there is no solution; one client bought a product I recommended, only to be massively let down by the supplier. Being unable to rectify the problem, the event had happened, my recourse was to, at the next meeting, inform the customer that I wasn’t charging for my time that day, it was the least I could do to make good. I believe they were both delighted with the offer and consequently the brand damage caused by the recommendation was fully restored.
So by setting very realistic expectations and making sure that when things go wrong, especially when out of your control, you accept the responsibility for resolving the issue, you can turn customers into delighted customers. I always remember that my customers have a choice, and it is my job to ensure that choosing me is not only a good idea because of the work I do, but also because they receive super service!