Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is the customer always right?

So is the customer always right? That is the mantra of customer service after all. But let's be honest...sometimes the customer is not right. Sometimes he's an abusive, obnoxious jerk.

We had a client treat a salon coordinator rudely on the phone, then berate her to other employees when he came in for his appointment. He actually said she is a complete idiot and must be a crackhead. He was obnoxious and made everyone uncomfortable.

I apologize for our shortcomings. We did drop the ball in one area. But I went on to tell him that it is inappropriate for him to come in and call her an idiot and a crackhead. He said with disbelief, "Are YOU chastising ME?"

Long story short, he might not want to be our client anymore.

No one likes to piss off a client. If he can be civil, he's welcome to return. If he can't, I can live with that. The most significant thing to come from this incident isn't that we may have lost a client. The most important thing is that my staff knows that I will stick up for them. Some jerk can't come in and treat them like crap and have management coddle them and apologize for things we never did wrong.

Your team needs to know that you've got their back. They need to know that how they are treated is important to you. They need to know that it doesn't always come down to dollars.

I'm talking about an extreme case here - we definately do our share of coddling. But don't expect your staff to put up with verbal abuse. There are plenty of nice clients out there - we can afford to lose the occassional jerk.

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