Sunday, October 27, 2013

Volume 81 - The Customer is Not always right

The Customer is NOT always right is something that we have always known but have been uncomfortable to publicly claim since "the Customer" is the reason for our existence, and we have always been told 'no matter' the situation "the customer is always right." Herein, however, lets inspect this creature (the customer) and attempt to understand my belief that the Customer is Not always right, and where the 'Responsibilty' exists to correct, enhance or separate. We are all "customers", in one way or another, so we can all agree that depending on what 'side of the table' in which we sit our views are likely to be prejudicial.

First example: a couple with their two children come into a restaurant and order Pizza, soft drinks and coffee. The server takes the order and brings the drinks to the table to find both children out of their seats playing with placemats, condoments, and parmesan cheese shakers on another table; but, she goes about her duties without saying a word. A short time later their food order is served. Ten minutes after being served one of the adult customers calls, in a rather boisterous voice, the server over and complains that the pizza is not baked completely, although four slices are gone from the large serving plate. The server brings the remaining pizza back to the kitchen for reheating then back to the couple whose children remain drinking soda and continuing playing with cheese shakers and condiments. A few minutes pass and once again the server is called to the table and now the complaint is 'they' don't like the dough/crust although now more than 3/4 of the pizza has been eaten. The server apologizes and tells the patrons that there will be no charge for the pizza. The 'gentleman' further complains that the Pepsi is 'flat' and refuses to pay for the soft drinks further stating that this was their 'first' and 'last' trip to this restaurant. The couple with the two 'unmannered' children depart the restaurant but within five minutes of their departure, figuring that their 'satisfaction' is not quite satisfied, telephones the restaurant to speak with the owner or manager complaining that the server was a 'rude bitch.' It is quite obviously the customer was wrong and completely 'out of bounds'. This is a 'retail' example dealing with "the public", and considering our constant lowering of educational standards as well as our "Wal-Mart" dress standards mixed with our further declining disregard of 'parental responsibilty', simple respect and the basic 'manners'of a human being I'm not sure how anyone works in the 'service industry' as a server or bartender.

Now to the second example, and the MAIN POINT OF THIS BLOG, within the 'Commercial' arena where 'customers' tend to be 'repeat' in nature and normally have years of experience with the vendor/manufacturer relationship:

A repeat commercial customer/distributor places multiple orders to be shipped UPS on their account. UPS notifies the manufacturer, after product has been manufactured, shipped and received by the customer, that the customer's account number has become invalid and now the shipper is responsible for the frieght charges. The customer refuses all communication with the manufacturer (who luckily had the customer pay in advance for the actual merchandise). Clearly, the customer is wrong (as well as UPS for accepting and delivering and then to notifiy the shipper that the account was closed). Clearly the Customer is not only wrong but deceitful.

A third example (again, within the 'commercial' arena): A customer, who has been a customer for over 4 years and although a 'slow' pay (over 45 days) knows that the terms of the deal are 1% ten net 30 has his account blossom to over 90 days. When approached via phone, and email concerning this matter he is insulted for he didn't realize the time 'started' at day of shipment. Clearly, the customer is wrong and that within his argument of 'starting' time attempts an excuse/complaint directed to avoid the actual problem.

I can write a 100 examples of the Customer/Client being wrong for whatever their motivation and justification but this is not a social psychological blog; it's much simplier, as it's about problem customer/client and Salespeople/Manufacturer Representatives. I forgo, for this blog, the service/retail industry for this category sets pricing by a 'Menu' or price 'tag' whereas in the Commercial-Industrial 'Sales' game exists that 'open window' to negotiate on numerous subjects such as price. This doesn't diminish the Service or Retail industry working people, and techniques needed, who have to daily deal with the rude, uneducated, moronic people that visit their shop, restaurant or bar.

It is my belief that within the 'Commercial' arena of 'sales' it is the responsibility of the Salesperson to be skilled enough to handle all customer types and to manage appropriate time to accomplish goals of the company they represent. The catagories that are of discussion involves those clients/customers that 'Grinds' on price, Indecisive, Buys competitive product, 'Loves' what you say but doesn't buy, 'Knows' it all, Lies to you, Egomaniacs, Incompetent, Complainers, and Those who simply have no buying authority. Each of these catagoies are blogs/teaching sessions by themselves but the point of this blog is to say that although each of these catagories makes the client/customer 'wrong' or simply difficult, it is still remains the RESPONSIBILITY of the Salesperson to OVERCOME EACH with proper technigue, knowledge, time management, and an 'eye' for the 'detail' without excuses for failure that are based on human fraility rather that specific detailed points of sale.

'Life' since 911 and the Global Economic stage since '08 is not as easy as it was even a few decades ago. Pressures of 'life' from one's home life, physical ailments, older parents, debt, death, etc. are all part of today's heighten struggle; nevertheless, the days of conventional sales approaches simply taking clients to dinner, drinking and 'hugs' don't cut it today where upper level sales techniques and time management must be mastered to actually sell products.

As challenging and as stressful as client problems may be to handle it is the very reason why salespeople exist. If every customer simply handed you an order without a struggle, most salespeople would not be needed. Problem clients are more than a reason for justifying your job, as they also represent an opportunity, but the salesperson must prove their own value both to the customer and to their employer.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Volume 80 - The Second Day of Government Shutdown

....Has anyone noticed that the Federal Government is in the 2nd day of a 'shutdown'? Not only has this action caused little or no inconvenience we shouldn't stop the 'shutdown' but should enlarge its scope.

Since the Federal Government keeps doubling its size every five years or so, now is the perfect time to cut the excessive amount of Federal employees. You say this cannot be's the rationale and solution to this ever growing 'monster' that lives in the 'beltway'. Since little is being accomplished when the following agencies actually 'work' (debatable term) and now 'shutdown', which is not even noticable by the average tax paying citizen, send the Energy, HUD, Commerce, Interior, and Education agencies into moth balls and put the IRS into a three year phase out.

Make Congress a seven year one term position, with the obligation/requirement of a 'Balanced Budget' for each year of their elected position with subsequent penalties, known as 'accountability', with the same health care, social security, type benefits/obligations as (again) the average tax paying citizen. In addition, this would apply to all their staff/employees, after which they can all return to their former jobs (if they had any to begin with).

As Daniel Webster wrote, at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the People against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."