Manufacturing is in for rough sailing. I used to be in it for a good many years. Around five years ago, I left. Just like that. I knew that God had a new journey all laid out for me. You see, I have been preparing myself for a long time.
I read books, I interviewed people, I asked a lot of questions, and I knew some eight years ago that manufacturing would be very tough as the competition from other countries became formidable.
Today, every time I meet my former competitors, the first thing they tell me is, “Francis, it’s a good thing you got out. You made the right decision.” Business potential now is found in service, but it’s no walk in the park. Service businesses can be tough.
Clients make unreasonable demands on you, call you at crazy times, and never seem to see all the little ways in which you have gone out of your way to ensure a project’s success.
You hear a lot of talk about how one should delight the customer, dazzle them, be intimate with them. and you find tons of books that talk about it.
But let us be practical. Rather than talking about what we should do to win the customer over, why don’t we talk about things we should not say so as not to lose the client.
There are very easy ways you can unnecessarily complicate your relationship with clients, or lose them altogether. If you’ve ever considered how to self-destruct in the world of client service, here are eight proven winners to get you started.
1. “Now let me explain this to you. It really isn’t that hard to understand.” This sounds so condescending. If I were the client, I would surely have been insulted.
2. The second remark that is sure to send your client out the door is “I understand you’ve got a problem, but I promise you I will work on it next week. It’s just that my boss gave me another assignment and I’ll be away for a while.”
3. If I were the client, the statement that would immediately make me angry is “It’s not my fault. Someone else messed up his job. What can I do about it?”
4. This next statement would make prepare you for a boxing match. “I’m sorry but I don’t work for you. I take my order from my boss. When he tells me to do it, then I will.”
5. What about this one: “I’m sorry, sir, but it’s not in the contract. So the answer is 'no.' End of discussion.
6. This next statement is so simple yet it gets to me. “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m new on the job.”
7. Now talk about irresponsibility. I hate it when I hear the service provider saying, “I was actually aware of the miscalculations three weeks ago. But I didn’t tell you because it didn’t seem important.”
8. Would you be thrilled with anyone badmouthing their own company? The very same company that pays the loser his salary? “My supervisor? He's so dumb. He must be a relative of my boss or something. I can’t figure out how he ended
up in charge.”
Be careful with your words. Words are so powerful they can lose a valued client or, worse, destroy a relationship. That's why we are admonished to be accountable for our words. Even the Bible says that. Just remember, the moment our words leave our mouth, they are no longer ours!
Print ed: 03/10