I know I can’t make everyone happy, but in business I certainly give it my best efforts. Ultimately your customers and clients want to know you care. If they know you care and are listening to them its like earning credits in a game of pinball. You may blow it once, twice, even many times, but as long as there are credits left they will let you play again. You earn those credits not by buying them with a quarter, but by adding value in other ways. By giving them more than they expect, by over delivering, by under-promising, by getting it to them sooner, sometimes by being more expensive thus more exclusive. By returning their phone calls or emails quickly, as if you were standing by waiting for their contact. By genuinely caring about their time and being on time to your appointments, or in our case when serving their meal. If you don’t care about your customer, you better start now or get out. You need to love them more than the widget or service or cookies you sell. It doesn’t matter how great your product is if you fail to build and create the relationships with the people who will buy it. And maintain those relationships through the thick and thin.
James had a famous in our family customer that would come in to his cookie store and complain every time. If he wasn’t there she would let him know that the cashiers were gossiping. If he was there she would complain that the muffin she wanted was too small. Or the windows were dirty or he was too expensive or she didn’t like the pictures on his wall. This went on for some time, yet she still came in. She would park herself in the cookie store with the old guys in the corner and complain. Complain about life or her daughter or whatever current event going on. How did this customer become one of our biggest fans? James practiced kindness. He would apologize, sympathize, and truly listen to her complaint, making it right whenever he could. If you can turn around the biggest complainer they will still broadcast, but a different message about you.
If you get defensive when you get a complaint, you are in love with your product. Take a look at that and stop taking it personally. Even if the product is you. Love your client, your guest, your customer. They are, or should be the reason you are doing what you do.