Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fight or Flight

Since caveman times, we have been programmed to deal with fear or threats by either running away or by fighting. That makes senseif a large beast was chasing me, I'm getting out of the way ASAP. On the other hand, if the threat was a small one and could be conquered, I'd take care of it, now.

In business, if I can be a little over the top, I believe a problem is that we respond to customer issues by either fleeing or we too often stand toe to toe and duke it out with them, even if it's done in a passive aggressive way.

The vast majority of customer situations should not be run away from. Running away confirms that you have made a mistake or are inferior and doesn't solve anything. Fighting with the customer to prove that they are wrong, mean, unfair or whatever, is fruitless almost every time, too. All you do is drive a wedge between the customer and your company. And after all, they are the customer and even if you're right, they have the choice most of the time of whether they want to work with you or not.

The answer is not fleeing and it's not fighting with the customer. It's in between the two. It's calmly analyzing the situation, the truth and then confirming that the customer knows the entire story (most of the time they don't). Then, far from fighting or running, we must talk (not text or email) and apply human interaction to it.

Most of the time, the customer is fair and reasonable, and most of the time both sides can figure out how to solve problems in a positive way. But none of that will happen if the customer sees us fleeing for our life or if we fight with them.

Fighting for your business relationships instead of fighting with your business relationships is far harder, but far more productive.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

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