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Offering the Olive Branch to Wronged Customers

July 23, 2020

Thursday Thoughts, Wisdom, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

A decade ago an entrepreneurial client recounted a memory involving poor communication with me that I couldn’t recall. Sifting back through ten years of correspondence to trigger my recollection to assure myself and her it was an innocent mistake preoccupied my mind. Frustrated at the fact a customer held onto a negative experience without sharing it with me made me instantly want to right the wrong in her eyes and memory.

After finding some evidence to set the record straight, I decided to first take a long bike ride to consider my next move before sending it to her. Did I need to be right? Isn’t the customer always right? Why was it so important to show what I found? I was confused on how best to handle this apparent customer service snafu, so instead I jumped on my bike taking in nature’s beauty to gain wisdom and settle my conflicting emotions since customer service has always been a strong suit and priority.

As I returned to my office, I decided to share via email documents I had that answered questions she had hoping to make her feel better. Although it was old business, I still wanted to make it right even if it meant no future business between us would occur. When you are an authentic person, the best you can do is behave honestly hoping the other person sees your side of the situation clearer. Without hope she would, I still wanted to appease my mind. I saw this woman as a great business owner who had my respect. The situation made me think contemplate whether it is more important for us to like our customers more or for our customers to like us more. Should all client relationships be 50% propositions in all areas of business?

I would garner based on my recent experience that it is hard to tell if a business/client relationship is 50/50 in feelings, respect, and benefits. Like time, things change and if we, as women entrepreneurs, don’t pay enough attention to our clients, the relationship can get unbalanced, feelings hurt, the agreement strained, and misunderstandings lead to mistrust. In a world where technology replaces face-to-face, or even voice-to-voice communication, misunderstandings can go years unnoticed unintentionally.

Is today the day you should take inventory of your customer relationships? If you find or hear of someone disgruntled or dissatisfied with you or your business, are you a big enough person or strong enough leader to extend the olive branch even if you don’t believe you did anything wrong? How important is your reputation to your piece of mind and business?

We can’t possibly right every unintentional wrong we commit as business owners especially if we don’t know we caused an issue, but when we know we did, we need to set our egos aside, muster the right response, and make concessions to alleviate any unintentional hurt someone has experienced. Being the bigger person in the end, is always the right answer.

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