Monday, April 4, 2011

Cutomer Criticism in Business

 Ever business owner, at some point in her carer, will face sharp and emphatic criticism by a customer, supplier, or even a competitor.

Whether the criticism comes about as the result of an honest mistake, an ignored customer, a filling product, a wicked competitor or from some other  source - it will eventually happen.

No one appreciates benign the grunt of verbal tirades and name - calling. Justified or not it's going to happen in your business. Make up your mind ahead of time how you will respond.

We all take offense to blame that belongs elsewhere and rude customers that get their jollies by preying upon the "hold your tongue" business owner that wants to avoid confrontation at all costs.

Criticism that is personal, emotional and charged with vengeance, while not fun to endure, at least grows milder with time and can be thrown out with the rest of the business trash next week.

There is another kind of criticism, though that no business owner should blow off. It is the other side of the sword, the opposite or second edge that is especially sharp and cutting.

Criticism that your business isn't delivering what it says it will ought to be listened to seriously; and further, it  ought to be scrutinized in detail to identify the underlying reasons and causes for the customer discontent.

This is the kind of  criticism, again, valid or not, that can ruin your business if ignored or swept under the rug.

There are many, many reasons why a customer can be deflated when he sees, tries, or uses your product or service. Some you may never be able to anticipate if your thought about it all year.

Your job is to acknowledge, understand, from his point of view, why his purchase doesn't meet his expectations and then to respond to rectify the experience.

He trusted you with his money. He expected to receive some level of value and satisfaction in return. But for whatever reason, your business didn't produce as it was supposed to (at least in hid eyes).

You have broken the customer's trust and created a monster that will often spread the word within the nice that you don't deliver, that you are out to rip off everyone that buys from you.

So how do you set the record straight? what can you  do to calm the injured and make restitution sufficient to to be forgiven?

The very first thing to do is to silence your critic. You don't want any more ears listening in on this conversation than necessary. Get your dirty laundry out of the public eye immediately so the issue is no longer that you ripped him off..

Now the still may not like you or your product, but at least he has no basis for claiming that he was a hit-and-run victim of scam artist.

Next , I would do everything in my power to try to understand the customer's real reason for being upset. Often the truth is hidden and covered with lots of excuse, invalid reasoning and lame fake explanations.

If you are going to get to the bottom of your search for your business ' failing, you have to peel back the outer layers and find the core of this smelly onion (concern).

If you manage to get to that heart of the real reason, the criticism you initially received will become almost a favor, a blessing in disguise. You see, you have been able to DE- fuse the bomb, hopefully save a paying customer, and save face and credibility  for your business.

It will be a loud signal that alerts you to something in your business system or product that needs attention right now.

I am reminded of the old adage, "a stitch in time saves nine."

When initial criticism leads to the identification and repair of a potential catastrophe, making for stronger and more customer-centric business, you should thank your lucky stars that your customer had the guts to speak up about his displeasure.

It is not always the business owner that discovers business execution or product details that have gone awry.

You need help to create and run a successful online business. Steve Browne is educated, trained, and experienced in offline and online business creation and management and he is sharing his insights and guidance freely in his new money making blog. Join his blog subscriber list today and you'll receive a free copy of " Art of Money Getting " to help you get started. 

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