Do you have difficult customers? You are to blame.
Difficult customers do not exist, they are created. By you. Because how difficult do you become if your suppliers do not adequately respond to your questions?
A wrongfully dissatisfied customer who does not pay
“Why do I always have such difficult customers?” an entrepreneur wonders when looking at the outstanding balances. “Take a look at this customer; we delivered everything in accordance with the quotation and inspected it at the location. But now, six months later, they still have not paid.”
“Do you have any idea why?” I ask.
“Well of course,” he says. “They are constantly nagging that we made the wrong calculations where the heating capacity is concerned. But that isn’t true at all; they are just messing things up!”
“How can you be so sure of that?”
“They are on the phone each day keeping my staff from doing their work and complaining because they are using too much gas. There’s nothing I can do here, is there?”
“But what do you do?”
“Listen and provide proof of having delivered everything correctly,” he snorts.
“Is it helping?”
“Well no, but what else am I supposed to do? They’re such a pain.”
“And subsequently the amount remains outstanding,” I conclude quite dryly.
But what if you took them seriously?
“What if you had taken the customer seriously the first time they lodged a complaint and sat down next to them to figure out the problem together, even if you are 100% certain that your product could not have caused the problem?”
The real cause
One year later the amount is still outstanding and the entrepreneur sets up a Service department using this difficult customer as a launching customer. One of the employees of the department visits the customer at their location and together they analyse the situation to determine the problems. After only two weeks it becomes clear that the dealer settings of the local supplier’s control computer have overruled the customer’s user settings, causing heat to be destroyed instead of recirculated.
Did this make the customer happy? No, they were relieved but still irritated that it had taken so long to come to a solution. The invoice has now been paid, however.
Everybody is right
The entrepreneur is right; his product was not the issue. But the customer is also right: their settings or operation were not the issue either.
The entrepreneur could have saved himself and his customer a lot of grievance if he had looked a bit further than just his own product. That is what service is about. The context in which your product is used is at least as important as your product itself; it could completely undermine your product.
Do you want a transparent context?
Profitable Services will make that context transparent resulting in your product receiving the required support and the customer getting a maximum return from your product. This is what makes customers happy. And happy customers buy more products and come back more often. Some will even become your ambassador.
If so, how to proceed?
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