Business purpose

The customer is always right (but there’s a twist)

- March 23, 2015 2 MIN READ

In our business life, our job is to ensure we’re putting a smile on the dials of the people we serve. But should we be doing the same for the people who are serving us too?

The other day I caught myself out doing something I do a lot (with my marketing hat on).

I found myself critiquing the less-than-friendly guy serving me at the checkout and thinking “Hey, your job isn’t just to scan the items you know? It’s also to make me, your customer, happy.”

Yes, I was playing the customer card

When it comes to my own business, I take customer service very seriously. That’s because the benefits to my business are unequivocal and I happily take that responsibility.

But when I’m a customer things get flipped (because the customer is always right, right?)

I feel it’s up to the business serving me to step up to the mark and make sure there’s a smile on my face. It’s as if I have a licence to be surly simply because I’m paying money for something (and it’s up to the person servicing me to turn my frown upside down.)

But is this really ok? Is it acceptable for my behaviour to change depending on which side of the checkout I’m on? Or should I behave the same way regardless of whether I’m serving or being served?

My blind spot

Here’s what I’d forgotten in the scenario described above: no matter which side of the transaction I am on, I’m always representing myself! My own personal brand.

Good service in a business setting can make you money, but bringing that same level of ‘good service’ to all interactions throughout your day will bring opportunities, friendships, goodwill and quite simply – happiness.

If smiling, enthusiasm, and showing I care are important in my business, then it’s got to be an important part of my everyday life too, right?

Even if I’m just buying petrol.

Even if they aren’t smiling back.

Since we care about the success of our business, we pay close attention to every interaction – from the reception desk to email to Facebook.

I think it’s time we showed the same care for ourselves too and took the time to pay attention to every personal interaction just as much. And yes, that includes strangers and sales people and even the telemarketer calling from another country.

We need to represent ourselves in the same way we represent our businesses.

My new approach

I think it’s possible to embrace the customer is always right policy and still avoid the trap of playing the customer. The trick is to see that you’re never the customer. The trick is to remember you’re always representing yourself:  your company of one.

Any transaction is an opportunity to impress with a smile, enthusiasm, and show you care about the person.

This is good, not just from a ‘personal branding’ point-of-view, but also from a ‘hey, let’s all do our bit to make this world a better place’ point-of-view too.

Do you pay more attention to your business brand than your own personal brand? And if so … why?