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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Business Success and the Sovereign Customer

From the point of view of a real Christian, God is sovereign over all. Yet because we're made in the image of God, there is a reflection of that sovereignty in people. For that reason, when looking to be successful in business, we must understand that under the parameter of the sovereignty of God, is the sovereign customer, and how we serve that customer will determine our level of success, within our calling.

With that in mind, the basis to any success is providing quality service. It doesn't get any more complicated than that. There is of course the need to find what we can serve best in and become as knowledgeable as we can within that field, but as it relates to the customer, the quality service we offer will directly correlate with how they respond to us; meaning how much of their business they give us.

One of the best ways to attract that sovereignty or loyalty is to take advantage of the times when something challenging happens the requires our involvement in helping to solve the problem. This isn't always some major challenge that takes extraordinary skill levels to fix (although it could be). Instead, it's usually the little things that add up that may cause a negative experience for a customer.

We all experienced times when we've had a lot of red tape and ineffective friction we've had with customer service to empathize with and understand this completely.

The winners in this area will be those businesses able to reduce the amount of frustration their customers experience when not only doing everyday business with them, but when something needs to be taken care of because of a faulty product or service.

I remember one time a long time ago with one of my first businesses where I had acquired a residential and commercial cleaning business. Having some experience in that area, I went to a contract I won, feeling very confident I could easily accomplish it. But my experience didn't help with a particular problem, and I told the customer I wasn't able to do what they asked, and no one else could either because the type of stains they wanted to be cleaned in the carpet were something I had never had to deal with in the past.

The problem was I made a decision and assertion based upon my experience, rather than consult someone that would know whether or not what I said was a fact. So I completed the job and the customer wasn't too happy.

What I should have done was told them I would continue cleaning the large carpeted area, and I would get back to them on what I could do with the stains. What I did was clean up the entire carpet, leaving the stains on the part of the carpet which was the reason we were called to perform the job in the first place.

My only excuse was it was a job the former owner had bid on and won before we bought his company, and we may not have made a bid without first checking out the situation and what was required. That said, the customer was the one in charge, and my partner and I should have made every effort to find out how to accomplish the task, rather than go through the motions and leave it as it was.

Needless to say we didn't go back for references from that client.

No matter what business we serve people or other companies in, we must understand they call the shots. If there are problems to be solved, they should be negotiated before any work begins and the agreement put on paper.

For those selling products, there should be clear and easy to understand instructions on the entire process of the transaction, including what customers need to do if they change their minds.

Outside of people that are cruel and not interested in a problem being solved, we should do everything we can to fulfill the promises we make to customers, using the problems inevitably rising from serving customers as an opportunity to not only help them with the issue, but do it in such a way it wins their loyalty.

Those committed to quality service for their customers will find themselves outperforming competitors taking the low road on their journey to success.

We have to embrace the fact customers are sovereign, and operating under that reality produces the type of service that will win their hearts and money to our businesses.

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