Be Better by Being Wrong!Posted by Luis Serpa on February 23, 2009 - 10:21 PM
I don’t know anyone who would want to be wrong.
Our culture is wired with a deep, primal need to always be right, which leads us to deceive ourselves into believing we actually are always right, which again leads us to believe that everyone else is wrong. (Wait… WHAT??!?)
Normally, one would think this is just another eccentricity of human nature and actually a pretty good defense mechanism in a competitive world (it takes a lot of confidence and determination to be successful, to win), but when it comes to Customer Experience, being right won’t necessarily do much good for you.
You see, at the root of most customer experience problems you’ll often find two opposite sides, both believing their view of the issue is the right one. The problem here is perspective. Anyone in customer service is fundamentally wrong in thinking that service has anything to do with whether or not the customer is right. (In fact, as customers we are often wrong, but that’s not the issue!)
The important thing to understand is that the customer’s feelings are always right!
It doesn’t matter why they’re angry, irritated, frustrated or upset, just that they feel that way. Your job, as a representative of your company is to acknowledge those feelings and do whatever you’re empowered to do in order to make them feel better. Focusing on trivial details, like who did or said what, is irrelevant. The only things you should consider are: “what can I do to help this person?” and “what can I do to make sure nobody else will feel that way?” This perspective will not only resolve the immediate problem but make your job easier in the future.
Some of the best examples of GOOD customer service come from situations where someone was honestly willing to discard his original perspective. In my experience, a good customer service professional always assumes he could be wrong while listening to consumer complaints. Not fighting to be right is the only safe way to achieve true empathy.
Put yourself entirely in the customer’s shoes, and consider the problem from their perspective instead of your own.
I know some of you will say that this could be bad for business, or that it is imprudent or risky to think others are always right, but let’s consider this for a minute:
Always thinking you may be wrong:
- Eliminates the pressure to compete or to “win” the debate as a way to successfully resolve the situation
- Allows you to be less defensive and more open to what the customer says
- Removes emotional attachment you can better listen to the problem and understand how it affects the customer
- Actually helps to find a solution that will please the customer
- Gives the customer a sense of being victorious, successful and confident about engaging your brand/company again in the future
- Makes loyal customers happy and make happy customers loyal (note:Happy customers won’t bad-mouth your company to friends and may in fact praise you on your conflict resolution skills!)
Needing to always be right:
- Automaticallyescalates the conflict by upping the stakes of winning or losing
- Makes both sides defensive and unwilling to actually hear the other side’s perspective
- Inflames strong emotions and irrational behaviors that have nothing to do with the real problem being discussed (like wanting to fight just to feel justified and complain to everyone about the terrible experience you had with that company)
- Masks the underlying causes of the situation, making it even harder for the company to discover potential problems that will soon affect profitability
- Makes a resolution only achievable by defeating one party and rendering both sides frustrated
- Extends the length of the conflict,wasting more of the company time and manpower.
- Makes upset customers more frustrated, even after getting what they wanted. They will spread the word about the terrible experience they had to endure!
So, my suggestion to all of you is: When it comes to handling your customers’ experience, strive to be wrong. It’s good for your business. It’s good for your customers’ experience, and it’s good for your success.
If nobody wins, then nobody loses. And that’s really how everyone wins.
Am I right?
This Post Categories: Behavioral Research • Customer Experience • Customer Retention • Ramblings • Standing Out
Tagged with: Behavioral Research • Conflict Handling • Customer Behavior • Customer Experience • Customer Perspective • Customer Retention • Customerspective Blog • Irrational Customer • LinkedIn • Luis Serpa • Setting Expectations • Standing Out • Unconscious Thought
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