Don Philpott☘️ en Carista, Digital Marketing, Marketing Chief Marketing Officer • Carista 19/10/2018 · 3 min de lectura · 1,2K

The Customer is often deluded and sometimes a right ...

The Customer is often deluded and sometimes a right ...

One of the most saccharine pieces of prose is "the customer is always right." 

Even at face value, there are logical fallacies.

Let's dig a little. Firstly, a customer  seems to represent someone who does repeat business, rather than a one time purchase. The purchaser is always right ...that just won't work. 

I can see the heuristic (mental shortcut) value. 

It is the same categorization as the child, woman, vulnerable party, is always initially deemed correct. It implies an initial pre-judgement call in favor of a more vulnerable party. This allows a space to investigate. It weights the valence.

The vendor is always correct seems a little too asinine and dangerous. Given the choice between two weevils, we chose the lesser weevil.

On further investigation issues become a lot more complex. Entire systems of thought get built on very shaky frameworks; co-join the words "arab" +"terrorist" and "dirty"+"jew," and see where it takes you. C"mon don't be prudish now...we're looking at influence peddling. A little mental experiment won't break your patriotic resolve.

Going from the theoretical to the everyday is a good segue...

A common customer complaint about our app is that the subscription pricing structure is "a pain in the ass." Complaining customers say they would rather have a one time fee. How much does it cost for exGoogle developers on a weekly salary paid in one time fees? 

The issue is based on some causal assumptions. The first assumption is that our app is included in the hardware price. The second is that we make a profit on hardware. The third minor one (they're not really convinced here and can't enunciate the thought) is that mobile "apps" should be free.

All are incorrect. 

“The Carista-branded adapter is the only one we tested, then, that offers both iPhone compatibility and the extended Carista “mod” functions...
Cheap adapters are almost all based on the ELM327 design, but Elm charges $15 just for the chip in bulk, so it shouldn’t be surprising if a $9 buy-it-now-bargain doesn’t use a genuine chip.

The complaining customer wants to believe that he or she has been bilked. It is part of the "well I oughta..." persona. Developing a grievance based on a rudimentary flawed logic, covered by equally tawdry emotion, spewed forth on a public platform (often Facebook). Facebook is like jam for flies in this regard.

The logic goes something like this; "You can buy a cheap chinese adapter on Amazon for six bucks so what am I payin for...goddammit." 

The fact that chinese (no insult intended - I'm extrapolating) equates more readily to "copied" barely matters. What matters is solely price and physical description. "I love my wife. I love pringles. Therefore it would be cheaper to pay for pringles,"has about as much validity. 

The custom is that I cannot explain this to the irate customer, I need to pacify (yes like a baby throwing a tantrum) them ...that is the part of the heuristic where I bite, hard. 

This is not "Bubba" who lives in an Airstream trailer. This is someone who can, at minimum, afford a down-payment on an Audi. It doesn't matter that the customer's car costs 30k or their lunch was 30 USD, minus the tip. The comparison in OBD adapters (or whatever product you sell - the same works for high spec custom yachts, real estate and budget hotels ) is negatively correlated and focused solely on money. "I can get this thing for cheaper." (Translation) You can some thing for cheaper, but not this.

This is the famous "loss aversion" psychology so wittily covered by Dan Ariely (and many others). There is no associative element to "software." Way too vague. We do get the "...and your software is shit too" complaint. But that comes from "complete"idiots. Most people figure them quite quickly, so it lacks the public punch in the face. Similar to being heckled by a drunk, loud but incoherent.

It doesn't matter what the quality is, the object is driving down the price.
Every sales book, ever, deals with this topic.

The same customer can reel off the options available on the top end devices, but seems to have a Richard Nixon on the attached price-lists. 

                   Except, we're not really selling adapters. We don't take a margin on the device. It is sold at cost.

 It is purely a vehicle to sell automotive software. The customer is actually getting a bargain, but not interested enough to gather the pertinent facts.

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Let me revisit the first assumption for a moment. The supposition goes that I buy my software for my car and all is dandy. It is linear;  car + software = "magic"

Once more we are back to really simple logic and negative correlations in terms of value. The value itself is unknown. The software works (as in performs the function requested). Complainants want it to work always as it does now, in a rapidly evolving sector. Which they know, because their car is a late model (fill in the blank).

The request here is for a "magic box"...for less than $20 USD. More approachable than the "cheapness argument,"because you can explain what the thing does and how it does it.

I'm going to finish on one last thing. The desire of the "customer" to get you, publicly. I was once Honda's No.1 customer complaints person in all of Europe (consider Honda US as a fair comparison). I received one "complaint" in nearly two years of over thirty calls a day. 

The customer wanted to put "his dead mother's car in his name." Note: he didn't own it. It wasn't in his name or had been legally jointly owned. According to Mr.X it was "willed." I was not willing to give information to him (especially as he "appeared to be" a snide little prick).  He pushed a complaint to management, specifically about me, to the point that my job was on the line (pun intended). I was called to listen to the original call recording in front of management. For what? To get some low rent call handler fired and gain petty "revenge?"  If I did give the information I would have lost the job.

"A customer may have pretty shitty motives" - don't see that on many bumper stickers.

Actually, (true story) a guy once complained to me (in a fast food restaurant) that he didn't want a plastic knife and fork. I gave him metal ones. Soon after he used them to attack a middle aged woman and her son sitting at the next table. It ended OK.

* Let's go with Customers are often right.

Don Philpott☘️ 22/10/2018 · #12

Hi @Wayne Yoshida - Empowerment gets the thumbs up. I've only worked in one company that offered that conditionality, so it's a rare commodity in it's absolute form. I'm more used to backstabbing colleagues and talk of "owning the issue" from people who would run a mile, while trying to dislodge their tongue from...(you get it), Think of those Linkedin staffers who went deep cover when the shit hit the Microsoft. A few weeks before they were taking selfies in the Dublin office. I'm big on "task orientation", so is Phil, Harvey, Gert. I've an idea you are too ...but that is not not the norm in customer service (customer service is often the runt of the litter, tolerated for face saving purposes). My answer to the question - (and I'm not overly cynical)
"Why not prevent mistakes in the first place?" For corporate types it's diesel-gate, Deepwater Horizon, Enron, the banks...only mistake is getting caught.

Wayne Yoshida 22/10/2018 · #11

One big thing that helps customer service folks: Empowerment. The ability to help the helper give beyond the standard what the policy says. . . . As long as things make sense, allow the front line people to make the judgement call. One of the indicators of a broken customer service team or policy or a dysfunctional company is when they have to apologize to the customer. "I'm sorry about this, but I am not able to help you" or "I am sorry you got the wrong item."

Why not prevent mistakes in the first place?

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Don Philpott☘️ 20/10/2018 · #10

(PTII) Customer service culture...hard to get to the nubbin of that one without stepping on numerous toes... the "power distance hierarchy" stuff drifts into a kind of stereotyping. PC brigade jump up and down and decisions get taken on "the bottom line." Keeping the wages in the local community, not an issue for global corporations. Near shoring often more cost effective in the longer term, but offshoring looks better on the balance sheet. Caste based societies versus flat hierarchies and technological evolution...lots of strings to that ball of wool. You did hit on the most workable solution though - get the one with the most responsibility for resolution to address your query directly :) Well done Sir. Phil

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Don Philpott☘️ 20/10/2018 · #9

#7 Hi @Phil Friedman - I can see a few more articles in this and associated topics. You're kicking over some rocks. (PT I) The Sears Response - offering a quality product (satisfaction - guaranteed) quite a few brands have that principle (to a greater or lesser degree) Rolls Royce comes to mind as do a few other prestige companies - the equation usually usually flows from the "value" of customer loyalty over time and the founders' ethics (culture is in there, but hard to pin down). I read your recent article on that topic - - very clear laying out of an issue leading to a hard to avoid conclusion.

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Phil Friedman 19/10/2018 · #8

@Don Philpott☘️ -- Pt II -- Contrast that with an experience I had with Office Depot. I had bought about a $2,000 worth of shelving units. The same morning they were delivered to my showroom, I received a sale flier in the mail that offered a 25% discount on those very same units. So I called the store manager to get him to honor the sale price, which he agree to do. And he wrote up a request for a refund for me. About two weeks later I received a call from an Office Depot customer service center in Asia which told me they could not locate information on the sale. So I faxed them copies of the sale brochure. But, to make a long story short that service center refused to issue a refund or a credit, even though we did the same dance three different times with me providing indisputable proof each time. Finally, I called the office of the president of Office Depot, and guess what they told me... They would be happy to help me if I would simply accept the refund in the form of a gift card (which I was happy to do) because not even they could get the Asian service center to issue the credit or refund. I wanted to ask the Office Depot president how that decision to outsource customer service was working out for him ... but I didn't.

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Phil Friedman 19/10/2018 · #7

@Don Philpott☘️, my favorite example, in case I've never mentioned this, was a friend of mine who worked customer complaints for Sears years ago, when it had a satisfaction-guaranteed policy. A woman called his office to say she had just bought a new A/C and it wasn't working. After a check with the service tech he found out she had tried to install the window unit herself, had lost control of it, and dropped it three stories to the concrete pavement. (Luckily, nobody was hurt.) The unit was smashed. But after all, she was a "Sears customer" which at the time meant something. So he had a new unit delivered but this time with an install crew that made sure the same problem didn't repeat itself. New replacement A/C, pro install, all delivered at no additional charge. Not cheap for the company. But I bet that little old lady talked for years about how well Sears had treated her. (cont... II)

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Don Philpott☘️ 19/10/2018 · #6

#5 Hi @Gert Scholtz - very much agreed too. A (99% of people) customer hanging on a queue for ten minutes waiting to give someone an" earful "needs a little guidance and TLC to get to a resolution. Absolutely the case. Wishing a great (and trouble free) weekend, D

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Gert Scholtz 19/10/2018 · #5

@Don Philpott☘️ A smart post Don and a good read for this customer – who knows he is right in saying so:) I have found that sometimes the customer is not right because he has no idea what he really wants or needs. A good salesman / negotiator can guide such a customer towards it, but even then frayed emotions, illogic or incorrect needs assessment might thwart a deal. Bridging the expectation - reality gap is always a tricky one to me.

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