The Customer Is Always Right
The making of a brand assassin & the brand ambassador.
A whole lot of businesses will not agree to the saying that the customer is always right. Considering the many customer service tales circulating the internet, we can almost reach the conclusion that the customer is not always right.
Yet, the smart manager with so much experience in business will tend to agree that the customer is always right. In fact, the customer better be right for the sake of your business.
The power to create a “brand ambassador” or a “brand assassin” lies in the hand of every business owner: be it the owner of that shop across the street or the marketing department of a multinational corporation . It is also true that Multinational companies spend millions to billions in capital to sign musicians, athletes, comedians etc as the brand face of their products and organisations. Ironically, many of such celebrities have probably never used those products in the past or will only pledge allegiance to the flow of cash rather than the products.
Such is the power of marketing in this new age. The same can be said of the sole proprietor with numerous banners on the “post no bill” walls as well as leaflets littering the locality as a means of publicity.
These approaches to advertisement and publicity is indeed a good starting point for most businesses and if these methods had a reputation for failure, business owners would probably have discarded such methods. Like I said, ” a good starting point”.
Remember the old long adage, ” you can only force the horse to the stream, you can’t however force it to drink”. Likewise, bringing in new customers is one important notion, keeping them is another face of the coin.
The race to ensure that your customers keep requesting for your service or product depends on how they feel about your brand. This implies that whatever form of treatment your customers experience while at your mercy, will go a long way to determining what they become: Brand assassins or Brand ambassadors.
In itself, the very concept of the customer is always right is not true when viewed from the perspective that there are bad customers, terrible customers and very badly terrible ones.
Nonetheless, when observed from the danger that these categories of customers can pose to your business, either as a result of a deal gone bad or a simple misunderstanding which could have been amicably resolved, and the inability to defend yourself (since you aren’t omnipresent) in the innermost parts of town where your customer resides. It seems your only line of action is to take a step back to analyze your best course of action.
You may win the war, but the battle is definitely for the customer. Studies suggest that 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. Moreover, news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.
In summary, the cost of bad customer service far outweighs the cost of signing a new celeb as the brand ambassador. The true brand ambassadors or assassins are on the street. The school boy that shows is classmates the barbing salon of the “carpenter” that gave his haircut. The wedding bride that looked stunning on her joyous day and recommends her fashion designer. Or the landlord of a mansion with a leaking roof in Victoria Island who spent millions, only to build a “Huge bathroom”.
The various experiences of these customers are pivotal in the making of these new customer and also determining what side of the vicious word of mouth cycle will stare you in the face.
It is truly unfair to assert that the future of a corporation or local business depends on the ability to manage and hold on to customers, even the very badly terrible ones. Unfortunately, this is the 21st century, customer satisfaction is the new marketing and no one expects you to be perfect but how you handle imperfections better be.