How Contempt Could Kill Your Business


It all starts with the customer from hell - you know the one: He complains about typos, gets irritated when you don't know the answer to his question and gets mad when your product doesn't do what he thought it should do. You get contemptuous of this customer. You unsubscribe him and send him a preemptive refund. And you get a little bit cynical. A little bit jaded. And then it happens again. And you become more cynical and jaded. Pretty soon you're thinking of your customers as a paycheck rather than as people. Your work suffers. Your business suffers. And it's game over. It happens to online marketers all the time. That's one reason why so many marketers hand their customer service over to a virtual assistant with strict instructions not to pass on any negative feedback to them. Essentially, they put blinders on so they can continue to function. But here's another method, a healthier method: 1. Don't vindicate yourself. A customer had an experience they didn't like - this doesn't make them right or wrong. And it doesn't make you right or wrong, either. The relevant question is, "Is this worth fixing?" 2. Look at the possible opportunity. Some people are jerks. Some are just having a bad day. Some of them have influence and power. If you can learn to work with these people without getting drawn into their drama, you and your business will be better for it. 3. Try being nicer than they deserve. Think about this: You over react in the moment and you temporarily become as nasty as them. Could this help or hurt your business? (Think social media if you're not sure.) But what if you're "too nice" - could this hurt you in any way? Unlikely. But it could certainly help you. Someone who complains and then gets their complaint resolved in a way that makes you shine is likely to tell others. So is someone who loses a nasty contest with you. Think about which story you want circulating in cyberspace. 4. Lose the contempt and find your empathy. That is a person, a human being you're dealing with. Maybe their dog just died. Maybe they caught their spouse cheating. Maybe they're totally justified in their complaint and you just don't want to see it. Take a breath. Relax. Disconnect from the "right and wrong" mindset and see what you can do to help them make this right. You'll feel better. They'll feel better. And who knows - you might just make a new evangelist for your company.

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