By Andrew Griffiths, serial entrepreneur and author @AGauthor
I’ve noticed an interesting trend arising in the world of business – business owners are becoming resentful of their customers. I hear all the time that customers aren’t loyal any more, they are fickle, they come and go and so on. So the business owners are blaming the customers as opposed to trying to understand why they are acting the way they are and evolving to meet these new customers.
As far as I’m concerned, being resentful towards your customers is a pretty pointless exercise. They don’t need to change and they probably won’t. For us to survive, we need to evolve and one thing that I think really needs to evolve, is our attitude towards our customers.
My question to you is – what do you really think of your customers? What is your attitude towards your customers? Have you got a good attitude or a questionable attitude? If l go into a shop and if I see a person who has a bit of a bad attitude towards customers, I don’t really blame them. I blame the business owners, because I think the staff tend to reflect the attitude that the business owners have. Likewise, a great attitude tends to be reflected by the team.
If the business owners are grumpy and miserable on the phone, the staff will tend to be grumpy and miserable on the phone. If the business owner doesn’t respect their customer, then the staff won’t respect their customers. Attitude really is a learned behavior.
I think it’s an important concept to really sit down and ponder. We need to ask ourselves a few questions – “What is my attitude towards my customers? Am I really grateful for the fact that they’ve chosen to come and use my business? Am I appreciative of the fact that they trust me enough to give me money, to buy from me when they have all the choice in the world. Do I treat them with respect? Do I value their time? Do I act with honesty and integrity every step of the way?”
If you’re really appreciative of your customers, are you telling them that you’re appreciative of them? Are you really drumming home to your staff that without customers you don’t have a job and we don’t have a business? It’s as simple as that. Not to be fearful, but to be respectful of what these people enable us to do.
If you are driving a nice car, are you thankful to your customers because they enable you to do that? They enable you to buy whatever it is you want or to educate your children, to eat good food, and to pay the bills. Even in tough times we can be resentful that not enough customers are buying from us, but believe me, it could always be worse.
Furthermore, we need to ask ourselves what are the changes we need to make to keep up with our customers, to show them that we understand their changing needs and expectations? Do we need to fine-tune the way we treat our customers? We’ve got to be honest with ourselves. I know there are times in my life when I’ve probably had a bad attitude towards my customers where I felt resentful, generally because I had the wrong customers, or because of other things going on in my life that I needed to change.
It’s unlikely you will change the way your customers think or act, so we either have to get new customers or rethink our attitude. This takes some serious hand on heart honesty but it might just keep us sane for a little while longer.