By Shep Hyken
You’ve probably experienced this. No matter how hard you try to please some customers, they aren’t happy. It’s frustrating, but at the same time, it’s reality.
And speaking of reality, no matter how good you are at creating an amazing customer experience, the customer’s perception counts. Their perception is their reality.
I once went to an amazing restaurant – at least, I was told it was amazing. That evening, I had a bad cold. The people I was with raved about the food. However, I didn’t have the same experience. It had nothing to do with the food. It had to do with how I was feeling.
When customers aren’t responding to the excellent service you’re providing the way you want them to, you might refer to them as “difficult” customers. The question to ask is, “What’s making them difficult?” Maybe they have a legitimate gripe. Maybe they have unreasonable expectations. Or maybe, as in my example of the restaurant, they aren’t feeling well.
I was reading a LinkedIn post from Valerie Choniuk, the national director of patient experience at Agilon Health, who described exactly what I’m referring to. A hospital may be known for its compassionate treatment and commitment to taking care of its patients, but if patients are in great pain, they may not be able to “enjoy” the experience you provide. That patient may be the nicest person in the world, but because of the pain, may become a difficult customer. To Choniuk’s point, “Patients are not purposely GIVING us a hard time. They are HAVING a hard time.”
You can’t make everyone happy.
Sure, some people are chronic curmudgeons. You may never be able to make them happy. Accept it. Other customers are very nice people just having a bad day. You must accept that, too. Continue to do your best, regardless. If you can turn the mood of a person having a bad day into something better, you can declare victory. But don’t stress over it if you can’t.
Not every experience you create for your customers will be exceptional, no matter how hard you try. But the point is that you try. Nobody is perfect, and things can go wrong. That’s okay. It’s how you fix it that makes the difference. And then there are days when it seems things did go well, but you still can’t make that customer happy, no matter how hard you try. It’s like a professional sports team that played a great game but lost. It’s going to happen. And, it’s not your fault. If you can sleep at night knowing you did your best, you should sleep well.
So do your best, and remember, sometimes customers are just having a bad day!