Learn To Be ‘Best Practice’ Smart For Your Business’s Success
As professionals, we always face challenges — all kinds of challenges. They can be predicted in some cases, but most of the time, they just show up. Like that annoying pimple that we were promised won’t show up anymore after we turn 20. Many of those challenges involve other people. All of them actually. Think about it, how can we face something difficult if there is no one on the other end to make it hard for us?
A smart professional will overcome the challenges. In one way or another, that person will find a way to overcome the hurdles and prevail. To succeed in your professional path, whether you are an employee, a business owner or somewhere in between, you need to be smart. And I don’t necessarily mean academic or real-life smart. This is more of a “best practice” smart.
Let’s say you stand in line for a new phone release and someone shoves his way through the line to right in front of you. The event is being broadcasted live by a media organization, and you have a professional track record to maintain. What do you do?
You face a few options. You can confront that person and try to get your place back in the line without knowing the outcome. You can report the person and hope that someone will take action for you. Or you can just accept your new position in line and be alert so it won’t happen again.
What is the right choice? Well, there isn’t one. It depends on the scenario. If that person were to act aggressively toward you if confronted, it could go south, and the situation may end up on live video, potentially portraying you in a bad light. It may also turn out to be a quiet response, with that person returning to his original place in line. Same with any other option. You never really know what response your action will result in.
Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes. You have a company with a great product. You put a lot of effort and resources to get your product to the market and expose it to as many potential customers as you can. Your company value proposition is amazing, and you get a lot of interest. That’s a great place to be in as a small business owner.
One of the most difficult things when establishing and growing a company is gaining interest and exposure. You have it all in your back pocket — the marketing, the operation, warehouses, distribution chains, human resources, etc. Your company manages to process orders every day, and it looks like the best product in its space.
But then you start having issues with customers. Customer service issues are an inseparable part of any business. Some of your customers are not satisfied with the quality of the product they received and contact your support team with outstanding requests.
It’s your product, the baby you’ve cared for since day one. You, as the business owner, are biased toward any negative product issue. You have also grown close to your team and feel like every complaint against them is personal. How would you handle customer service issues in this scenario?
This is where “business practice” smart comes before the real-life smart. Or consider it this way: Be smart, not right. You always need to do the right thing for your business, regardless of the other side. In the case of a customer with an outstanding complaint or issue, it is often in the best interest of your business to be smart. What does that mean? Give up. Let the customer win.
The Customer Is Always Right
The saying “the customer is always right” comes from this business approach. Not because the customer is necessarily always right, but because the business wants the customer to think he was right — or at least think that he won.
Think about the pros and cons in today’s world if you try to battle with a customer. Social media, review sites, personal blogs — all are so accessible and easy to lash out on about every little issue. Some people are just waiting for something new to be mad about, to jump on and add to the anger of many others.
This does not happen all the time, but do you really want to take that chance? What will you lose? What will your business lose? A few dollars from an order? A replacement product?
Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to accept every customer request, but you do need to act respectfully and offer solutions for every customer with an issue. Most likely, if you are the smart one, your business will prevail.
Remember one thing — one very important thing: If you can’t keep calm and carry on, do not handle customer issues or social media engagement on your own. The damage you may create by taking the offensive approach instead of the smart one could affect you in the long run.
From my perspective, this approach is right for every situation you may encounter in your professional life. The fact is that, when you manage to get the other side to work with you instead of against you, the results are a lot better and quicker.
Try to apply this approach to the everyday challenges you face. I won’t lie, it takes time to practice and excel. Most of the time, it won’t be perfect. As someone once told me, “you’re better off keeping your head over water than sinking with the bottom feeders.” Try and remember that.
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