I know this will sound crazy at first, but please bear me out. You SHOULD SEND YOUR CUSTOMER AWAY:
1) when it’s in the customer’s best interest
2) when it’s in your staff’s best interest
A recent study cited in the book Service Economics suggests that when businesses truly act like “trusted advisors” (not just claim to be) they out perform the competition by 20%,
That means you should send customers away when their needs will be better served elsewhere. For example, consider a butcher who sends a customer away saying,”our veal will be better tomorrow, I don’t want to sell you what we have today.” Or even sending a customer to a competitor, as evidenced by a Zappos call center employee (Customer Loyalty Team member) who is encouraged to act as follows, “I am sorry that we don’t have that in inventory, let me look for that for you on shoes.com.”
Send them away to serve a relationship not a sale!
The second reason to send a customer away is because they mistreat your employees. As I mentioned in my book, The New Gold Standard about the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Cesar Ritz was known for saying “the customer is always right.” Personally, I believe Cesar was wrong and the modern day Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company proves my point. While the Ritz-Carlton sets the standard for luxury service experiences, they hold to their motto of being “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” The reciprocity implied in the motto means that if a guest acts ungentlmanly toward one of the Ritz-Carlton ladies who is serving them, that guest will be asked to elevate his behavior or seek lodging elsewhere.
I say send your customers packing, when the situation merits. The courage to let go will pay off in the end!
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.
Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli
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