Over the course of the last month, we’ve looked at some of the most common small business fears. From not being able to get enough clients to making poor decisions, failing as an entrepreneur and losing money, we examined where these fears come from and how to twist them back on themselves to work for you instead of against you. There’s one last small business fear that I want to address and it’s kind of taboo because it relates to customer satisfaction. It’s the fear of not being able to please a client.
No one talks about it because who’s going to admit that they worry they can’t please their clients? But this is a real fear and it contributes greatly to entrepreneur anxiety.
The Customer Is Not Always Right
Who hasn’t heard the old adage, “the customer is always right”? It’s a core piece of business advice that every entrepreneur hears and many take entirely to heart, modeling their entire business on it. After all, happy customers equal more customers, right? Ehhh…maybe, or maybe not.
I’ll be honest. I don’t agree with this bit of advice. I agree with the underlying premise that a business should do its best to make the customer happy, but realistically? Sometimes there are people who just aren’t going to be happy no matter what you do. And, unfortunately, there are some business owners who are so committed to pleasing all of their customers all the time that the one customer who is unhappy can ruin their week or, even worse, put the fear of self-doubt into them. This can snowball into a fear of being unable to please any customer and lead to a downward spiral where the business suffers.
Instead of being afraid that you’ll be unable to please some random customer at some random point in time and allowing that fear to hold you back, let’s twist that fear around by taking control of it.
Take Control Of Your Fear
Instead of worrying (in an abstract and theoretical manner) about being unable to please a client, take control of the worry. Accept the fact that a time will come when you will not please a client. It’s going to happen. I can promise you that. No matter how well you do your job or how much you overdeliver, someone will still complain.
This is what you do:
- Look at their complaint.
- LISTEN TO THEM UNTIL THEY ARE DONE!
- Take responsibility where needed.
- Are they right to complain?
If yes, fix it.
If no, then explain your position and let it go. Even if it means letting the customer go.
The one thing you don’t want to do is dwell on this for years to come. Don’t let it destroy your next day or week. Once again, use this minor setback as a teaching tool to develop a plan or take actions to ensure that it never happens again.
Resist Becoming A People Pleaser
The fear of not being able to please a client is often a problem for small business owners who are “people pleasers” – and let’s face it, a lot of new entrepreneurs fall into this category. We’ve got a great product or service and we need to get the word out so everyone will love it and then our business will be a huge success! Of course, we’re going to do everything we can to get people to like us and our business! But people-pleasing can be hazardous to an entrepreneur and contribute to entrepreneur stress and anxiety.
How many times have you witnessed a business try so hard to please everyone that they miss the boat and don’t really please anyone? It happens and it happens because they haven’t identified or remained focused on their core market. In some cases, the business can even lose its identity or the qualifying features that made it stand out from the competition. To overcome the fear of being unable to please a client, your best approach is to:
- Identify your target market,
- Focus on pleasing that target market,
- Accept that there will be others who won’t be pleased, and
- Come to terms with the fact that you’ll just have to let those customers pass by.
Your business is not set up to reach all people. No business is. The sooner you realize and accept that, the sooner you can direct your focus to markets that are most beneficial for you and your business and the sooner you’ll enjoy success and freedom from your fear of not being able to please clients.
Need Help Reaching Your Target Market? Contact The Marketing Shop
Reaching your target market is crucial to small business success. If you are struggling to identify your target market or to reach them, contact The Marketing Shop for help to arrange a strategy session. We can help you find your customers and connect with them for business success!