Servility vs. Service
At a conference I recently gave, a participant asked me my opinion on the concept of "servility" as applied to customer service strategies. This question was undoubtedly the trigger to reflect on the focus of the previous sentence.
Servility: Always say "yes" and accept everything your interlocutor says, even when it is not true or he/she is not right.
Service: Meeting customer expectations, solving and attending to their different requirements, including complaints and claims. It also implies saying "no" to unfounded requests, always with an assertive and persuasive communication.
The paradigm of "The customer is always right".
As time went by, the paradigm of "The customer is always right" started to be questioned, mainly due to:
Reality has shown that the customer is not always right.
Customers use a product or service inappropriately.
There is confusion between similar products or those of competitors, causing claims that do not correspond to the product indicated.
Some consumers overuse a product or service and want to claim improper warranties.
Occasionally, customers lie about what really happened to the product or service.
Due to all of the above, companies began to question the premise "The customer is always right", so it was modified.
"The customer is right as long as he justifies/understands it."
In the current environment, a rethinking of this paradigm began to take place, if it was demonstrated that the customer was not right, the company was no longer committed to provide the corresponding guarantee or refund. In extreme cases, the customer could even be classified as an "undesirable customer" and denied the sale of the product on future occasions. This led to the following approach:
"The customer is not always right."
This concept goes beyond service, it encompasses commercial relationships within the company, customers who are not profitable and/or desirable for the company. This type of customers are identified by:
Failure to pay in a timely manner.
Seeking maximum profit, taking advantage of their purchasing power.
Not acting objectively and/or generating unnecessary conflicts for the company.
Do you have a customer that meets one or more of the above points? Is this customer profitable for your company?
The customer is not always right
Accepting that the customer will not always be right does not imply rejecting all the complaints from your customers, what I suggest is to have a positive attitude towards the different objections, attend the requests promptly and review each case in depth to determine whether the complaint proceeds or not.
If the customer is right, offer an apology and act quickly; if the customer is not right, communicate assertively, and if necessary, charge again for the new product/service.
"20% of the complaints filed by customers are not justified."
Por Fernando Velasco Pino
International speaker and instructor on topics related to sales, customer service, motivation and negotiation. He has trained more than 250,000 executives and entrepreneurs in more than 2,000 different companies.