The squeaky wheel gets the oil

Tina returns and is examining why the most strident customers tend to hog all the attention

Published:  17 November, 2022

Most of us will reluctantly admit that, at times, the loudest problems or customers, get our attention.
Why do we feel the need to discount or offer something to those customers who shout the loudest? All our customers come with their own needs, some may ask a lot of questions, some may complain, some are very needy and require a lot of information and support. Sometimes the ones who complain are giving voice to those that are quiet and just drift away without voicing their opinions. So why do we reward those that shout the loudest?
This can come in many forms. Here are just a couple of examples. There is the aggressor. Their body language and their manner are aggressive, and they are very demanding. Shouting the odds, blaming someone else for their problems. These customers can make us feel intimidated and scared. There is the emotive. They are upset, displaying tears and self-pity. These customers make us feel emotional and bad about the situation. In both scenarios, it is normally about the costs or the time to carry out the repair.
Often, a conversation with an explanation is enough, but remember, we are running a business, we cannot just start giving out discounts to every customer who comes in showing the above behaviour. Ultimately, it is not our problem that the customers vehicle is broken or how much it costs to repair. Finding the balance in the dichotomy here is very hard.
The biggest mistake we make, is that we do not listen, attentively listen to understand. We need to listen with our ears, eyes, and bodies. Give that customer the feeling that they and what they have to say is the most important thing. Your listening skills demonstrates dignity and respect for your customer. There will be times when you feel like interrupting as you do not agree with something that they are saying, but wait, listen. Let them talk themselves out, reiterate what has been said so they know you have taken it all on board. Do not argue, you cannot win an argument. Even if you shoot down the other parties’ point of view with evidence to prove that you are right, you have still not really won. You, will feel great, you have won, haven’t you? What about the other party? All you have done is make them feel inferior, embarrassed, downtrodden. Is this how you want to make your customer feel?
Many bad situations can be resolved by listening, taking the emotion out of the situation and being empathetic. Stay assertive, this does not mean being aggressive. Be influential rather than argumentative. After all, prevention is better than cure. Remember, in every situation, how you respond affects the outcome.
When we offer a compromise, a discount, an offer that can be used later, a car valet or some other service. All we are doing is feeding the lion.
Why don’t we offer this to our loyal customers, those that come back time and time again, no complaints just quiet happy customers? How many of us know who are real loyal customers are, not just those that spend but those that are our raving fans and recommend us to everyone they know? How many of us reward those customers?

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