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Bloody customers getting in the way of business?

Have you considered the damage you do if you complain about customers to your staff?

At the risk of putting further pressure on the top of my soap box, and potentially ruffling some feathers, I’m going to have a rant anyway.

In the past few months I have experienced an alarming number of staff and even more alarmingly, a fair few business owners who seem to have forgotten who all those people are. You know – the ones standing at the counter or on the other end of the phone. Yeah that’s right… customers or potential customers.

That word; ‘customers’ just doesn’t seem to have the impact on these businesses that it should. I have experienced ‘service’ levels from some business houses ranging from ‘indifferent’ to nothing short of ‘belligerent’!

And I have seen first-hand, business owners / managers standing around with their staff referring to customers after they are out of ear-shot saying things like  ‘God he asks such dumb questions’ and ‘She hasn’t got a bloody clue’ and other general comments about how these people are such an annoying interruption…

“An interruption to what?!”

If you want your team to deliver anything even remotely close to Exceptional Customer Service,  it has to start with a discussion about how we think about our customers. If the word ‘customer’ doesn’t conjure up the appropriate feelings; try something more emotive like – ‘that lady helps pay your mortgage’ or ‘that guy is feeding your kids!’ or whatever else helps those that have (seemingly) forgotten  that without these people – we have no need to go to work, or even get out of bed!

I completely accept that some people are just downright frustrating. So consider this very loose (and perhaps inappropriate) adaptation of a line from the movie Forrest Gump  – “Customers are like a bowl of mixed nuts. In amongst the many cashews, pecans, walnuts and pistachios, you are going to have to accept that every so often you will come across a real peanut!”

But should we let that one nut spoil the way we treat all the other ‘quality nuts’?

And if that doesn’t resonate, then here is our customer quote that our Actual to Ideal clients love to re-convey to their staff…

Our Customers are not always right…

But they are always the customer….

And they are the only reason we exist

It may be pretty hard for anyone to argue with that…


Yours in prosperity

Jeff Austin

Business Coaching Bunbury

Actual to Ideal

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