I (Frankie) know all about customer service. I've been a waitress, worked in retail, I am an office manager who answers the phone and schedules appointments, and the co-owner of my own business. I'm always and forever dealing with customers/clients and I know the golden rule; the customer is always right. But, that's not quite true is it?
One of the hardest things about my job is being nice to people who feel that it's okay to be mean to me. I know where their head is. They know that I'm serving them and if I'm rude, no matter if they were rude first, I could, at the very least lose a customer/client or, at the very worst, lose my job. So does that make it okay for them to be rude to me? Absolutely not, but unfortunately, lots of people think it does make it okay.
I get it. Sometimes things happen and we get frustrated. It happens to me all the time. But, nine times out of ten whatever happened to frustrate us or make us flat out angry, has nothing to do with the person taking care of customer service. These people usually aren't who we have the problem with at all, but because they are there and we know they can't say anything back to us, it makes them an easy target. That's not okay.
The next time you get mad or frustrated with a business, just remember where the problem originates from. It's almost never because of the person who you're dealing with at that particular moment. Just because you're angry or frustrated doesn't mean it's "right" for you to be rude.
Whether you work from home or in a brick and mortar business, no matter what side of the counter you're on or which end of the phone line you're on, we're all customers at some point and we're not always right. Be nice.
Before you go to the dentist, do you brush your teeth first? Before you get a manicure, do you trim your nails? Before you get your physical do you frantically work out in the hopes of dropping a few pounds?
Yes, you do. I do. We all do.
I was thinking about this a few weeks ago as I was getting ready for a manicure appointment. I hadn’t had one in years, and I was treating myself because it was my anniversary. As I was getting ready, I pulled out a nail file to shape my cracked, snaggly nails so that they would look okay for the manicurist.
And then I realized how stupid I was being. Why am I trying to make my nails look better? Isn’t that the whole point of paying for a manicure?
We do this a lot, with so many things in our lives, and it’s really the wrong thing to do. When I gain a new client for my VA business, I don’t want them telling me how great they are and how great everything is going. That’s not why they’re hiring me. I can’t help them if I don’t know know all the ugly. I can’t change things if I don’t know what the “pain points” are for my client.
Why are we all looking for help, and then pretending we don’t need it?
The best way to succeed is by identifying all the problems that are happening. If you have a client or customer, you need to know what their problems are and then you can solve them.
What's Mule Day you ask? Here is an excerpt directly from the Mule Day Website:
Mule Day is an annual celebration of all things related to mules and is held in Columbia, Tennessee, the “Mule Capital” of the world. Begun in 1840 as “Breeder’s Day”, a meeting for mule breeders, it now attracts over 200,000 people and takes place over seven days. In addition to mules, traditional Appalachian food, music, dancing, and crafts are featured.
Did you see that? Over 200,000 people! What? I (Frankie) had no idea about this when I moved to Columbia, TN in 2010. Columbia isn't a huge town and 200,000 is a whole lot of people. I get road rage on a regular Tuesday around here because I feel like there's too much traffic for such a small town. Can you imagine how I am when over 200,000 new people roll into town for seven days? It isn't pretty.
For a long time I just held my tongue about Mule Day. It's kind of an old tradition, 1840, and I thought maybe it brought some revenue to the town. I'm not so sure that's the case anymore. Maybe through the week some of our small, locally owned businesses do some extra sales, but I found out this year that on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Mule Day week, most of those close. They have to. They can't get to work to open shop even if they wanted to. Most locals actually leave town that weekend. Some make sure to plan their vacations for the whole week so they don't have to deal with the crazy overcrowding of our town.
It's really not fair to those of us that live here year round. I'm sure the influx of people does help with our revenue on some level, but is it worth it? There are a ton of us that walk at our local park every day. The county made a walking trail just for us and we love it. Mule Day is held at the park. There are signs that designate where to park trailers and tell them not to have mules or horses on the walking trail. I went to walk the Thursday of Mule Day this year and I couldn't. Not only could I not find a parking spot, trailers were parked all across our trails and of course the whole walking trail was littered with crap…literally. It was awful. I missed four days walking because of it, and I know I'm not the only one.
You may think I'm just being a crybaby here, but I'm really not. I do have a point. Sometimes we think what we're doing for our work from home or brick and mortar business is a good thing. Maybe we keep doing things the way we've always done it because that's what has worked in the past. Maybe we start doing some new fangled crap because we think we need to get with the times and try some new ideas. All I'm saying is whatever you do; make sure it's actually good for your business and your clients. Adapt and evolve, but don't alienate. You can't make everyone happy all the time, but you can sure give it a try.
And don't bring in 200,000 new clients and expect your old clients to be happy.
Do you think holding onto traditions is a good or bad thing? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In today's #We'reAllBusiness post, I'd like to talk about…wait for it…flexibility! I bet you guessed that already though, didn't you. I (Frankie) have been following a theme this week on being more flexible so it only makes sense for me to end the week with a post that stays consistent to that theme.
For some of us (I'm talking about myself here) flexibility and change is hard. I know I can get very rigid and stoic in my routines, schedules and ways of doing things. When you start changing things up it's extremely tough for me, but I realize that to grow and thrive as a person and as a business woman, I absolutely have to be more flexible.
I've recognized 3 ways I personally need to be more flexible in my work and home life and thought I'd share those with you today.
And of course, according to my sister, taking a yoga class couldn't hurt either.
We'd love to hear from you. Leave us a comment on your ideas on how to be more flexible in your business and personal life.
On Monday I (Frankie) talked about chocolate ice cream and how no one serves it anymore. I also talked a little about how in order for you to grow your business, you have to be flexible. Not everyone likes things done the same way just like not everyone likes vanilla ice cream.
It sounds really simple, and it is. Just be flexible. You're customers will be happier, more loyal and more likely to send you referrals because they will know you are someone who can work outside the box to get things done the way need them done even if it's not necessarily the way you've always done them.
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.