In my blog, I try to offer interesting observations about the Estate Sale Business. Professional Estate Sales has grown so quickly and I and the team have learned a lot about customers and clients in the past few years which leads me to the title of this blog, So when we say, “The customer is always right,” what does that mean?
In the days before I was a business owner, it meant that no matter what they, the customer, asked for or how they asked for it, the people who were paying for something got their way.
Now as a business owner, I’ve come to understand that this phrase means something slightly different. Yes, the customer is always right, but not because they get all their demands met or they get to be dictators about timelines or processes or fees. The customer is right because ultimately the customer is the only one who can say if they’re happy or not. For the purposes of this post, I will use the term customer interchangeably to reference both the clients who engage Professional Estate Sales to manage their sale as well as the end customer who come to our sales and make purchases.
Customer satisfaction can only be judged by one person: the customer.
Some customer will be unhappy. It doesn't matter how good I and my team perform or how hard I have tried to understand my customer's desires for an estate sales outcome. It won't matter that just about every other customer I’ve ever had has been not just happy but thrilled with the work my team and I have done for them nor that every weekend we hold sales where we have many repeat customers whom we now regard as friends.
As the customer, only they can be right about their level of satisfaction. I nor my team can make everyone happy, this has been a tough lesson to learn as both I and my team make it our mission to ensure every customer is satisfied and treated fairly.
Over the years I’ve encountered some customers who I have not been able to please. A customer who insists that they are dissatisfied will remain dissatisfied. This is something that is rarely changeable. And let me tell you, I have no problem letting them be right and therefore, letting them go. I have come to understand, reluctantly, I nor my team can satisfy everyone, every time.
Slamming your head against the wall trying to make someone happy after you’ve given them your best doesn’t help either you or your customer. You’re keeping your customer from seeking help from someone who might actually be able to help them on terms they are willing to accept. And you’re keeping yourself from being of service to people who want what you have to offer in the way you have to offer it.
The customer may be right, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It may just not be a good fit. And in life, I have come to learn not every situation is a good fit.
I will never please everyone, although a utopian dream, it is one I now understand I can not deliver on. The question I have had come to terms with is, how long are you going to beat yourself up about it before you set yourself and your customer free?
In our digitally empowered world, these lessons become all the more important. In a time when one can simply type a bad review based on a perceived injustice they feel without factual evidence, it leaves business owners at a disadvantage. Try as we might, to provide the best services possible and the best pricing possible, we can not please everyone. What we can do is encourage everyone to do your research. A simple fly-by review on any website may not tell the whole story. Before engaging an estate sale company, ask for references, make phone calls, make sure you are comfortable with everything that is about to happen. And if you a customer at a sale make yourself known. More often than not a simple conversation will settle any issues that may have arisen.
The keys, I have learned, are transparency and open lines of communication.
Jonathan Savoy is an entrepreneur at heart and currently the Managing Partner for Professional Estate Sales, LLC based in the Atlanta Metro Area. In my blog I will share weekly updates about the company, the estate sale industry and other information I hope you will find useful and entertaining.