Are Customers Stupid?
August 18, 2008 by Akemi Gaines
Have you ever received customer complaints or inquires and thought they must be so stupid?
I usually don’t like being controversial, but I have seen so many missed opportunities that I dare to take strong tone today. If you think your customers are stupid, most likely it is you who is not doing the smart things to serve them – and to improve your business.
Sure, they are asking questions that are so basic to you. But isn’t that how you stay in business? They are paying you because you have the expertise they don’t have. So it is on you to explain it in the way non-professionals would understand.
Or maybe they screwed up the instruction and complaining. Is it their fault? To some extent, yes, but again, you are the pro and they are your customers. Can you give them better instructions that are easy to follow?
Customers are giving you great feedback (for free!)
When you view customer questions and complaints as yet another task to take care of, something that consumes your time and energy, you start resenting. But that is not the case at all. These customers are, whether they know it or not, doing a great favor for your business – they are offering valuable feedback for your business growth!
Whatever your business may be, you want to be always improving your offer. And exactly how do you do this? By learning customer needs and wants. So you want to ask for feedback – some businesses even pay to get feedback. And here, your unhappy customers are offering that feedback voluntarily.
Two or more of the same questions or complaints definitely require your attention. Even one. Remember, one customer speaking up represent ten or more customers who’d rather leave quietly.
And don’t just individually address those inquiries and be done with it. Those inquiries deserve more attention. Improve your system itself so that new customers don’t have to ask the same question again. This way, you save your time, too. Further, you may even make more money when you pay attention and work to serve your customers better . . .
How you can make more money by respecting customers’ complaints and inquiries
Here is a story of how a business can benefit by listening to the customers – and this is literally a million dollar story. At a coffee shop, many patrons wanted cold coffee drinks rather than hot espresso during the warm season. Rather than telling them such item is not on the menu, the shop keeper experimented with chilled espresso with milk, etc., and invented a new drink. He contacted the headquarter of the chain, and they liked it, added it to the menu, and now it makes tons of money: Frappuccino at Starbucks. (I heard this story at a teleclass that featured Howard Behar of Starbucks, who wrote It’s Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks)
To illustrate the case further, let me share something I experienced. A client for my Akashic Record Reading service asked if he could have a written summary of the phone session he had with me. That was back when I just started taking clients, and I was still working on the details of the package I offer. His inquiry made complete sense because I cover a lot of things in the phone session. I didn’t know other psychics who offer written report but I thought I might want to do it.
So I added the written report as an option, with a small surcharge. I wasn’t sure if many people would want it, however, because after all, they can take notes during the phone session themselves. (And to make sure prospective clients know there will be a lot of things to be discussed, I added a few line on the website advising them to be prepared to take notes if that is the way they want to handle.)
To this day, more than 80% of clients order the written report. Wow. It seems busy people really like it because it lets them review the phone session quickly. It also attracts customers who don’t speak English so well – With written report, they can take the time they need to understand my findings.
Just a few examples of actions you might want to take for your business:
1. If you have online business, is there a well organized FAQ page? Is it clearly visible on the landing page?
2. If you offer eBook or other written materials, and customers ask the same questions over and over about certain part of the book, is it time for you to revise it?
3. If your customers ask for something that is currently not on your menu or line of service, can you add it?
Have you been frustrated with customer inquiries or complaints? How do you deal with them? Do you have more suggestions for the action plan?
If you like this article, you might enjoy my eBook on spiritual entrepreneurship. Click here for free, immediate download