My husband often tells me, “I can’t win.” He says that normally after we’ve had any kind of lively discussion when we have a difference of opinion. Not that it happens a lot. (You know, maybe four or five days a week or so.)
Here at Bennett/Porter, we recently changed service providers for one of our systems, and while I occasionally have clients that are upset with me for some reason or another (I know, I know – I’m shocked too!), I don’t think I’ve ever had a provider (a.k.a. ‘vendor’) that was upset with us. But it happened this month.
My view is this: The customer is always right. If our customers think we did something poorly, then we did. Whether it was poor communication or poor follow-up or follow-through, we did a bad job. With this month’s system change, we were the customer, and we complained about something that was represented to us but that didn’t happen as it should have. A couple of days after the system change, I received an email from a representative of the provider saying never in his days of employment had he ever received an email like the one he received from one of our Technicians. (The word “nincompoop” might have been used. Thank goodness the Technician wrote it and not me. I might have used stronger language, like ‘ding dong’.)
It struck me as odd that our provider’s attitude was not that the customer (again, that would be us in this case) was right, but instead that I needed to discipline our employees for expressing their frustration. Frustration over things promised to us that didn’t happen. Frustration over losing features we had before that we were told would be the same. Frustration over the words, “Oh, that’s available, but it is a different cost.” Like my husband, my first thought was, “I can’t win. I’m the customer here and they’re telling me I’m wrong!”
But that’s not the right thought. We have integrity. That is, we back up our promises, and if we make a mistake, we make things right. I know of other firms that don’t fully disclose all of the costs associated with purchasing new hardware or implementing a new system. And when their client says, “I thought that was included,” they just say, “Nope! You’ll have to pay for that separately.” (Kinda like that system change we went through earlier this month.)
I’m very proud of all of our employees at Bennett/Porter, and I’m very glad they’re fighting not only for what’s right for Bennett/Porter, but what is right for our client base as well. The employees and our universal belief in the motto ‘The Customer is Right’ is one of the things that make us different than other firms in our industry. Giving our clients a true picture of costs before a sale is made, and the importance of the integrity that goes along with that, is what has made our firm so successful over the years.