Have you ever considered that the ultimate goal of your business may be to lose a customer? Before you disregard that statement, I urge you to look at what your business does from an unbiased perspective and consider the following example:
A man visits an attorney that offers free consultations and in detail explains that he would like to file a lawsuit against a particular party. After listening to all the details, it becomes pretty clear to the attorney (in one way or another) that the gentleman’s case does not hold water. The ethical/moral action would be to explain to the man that he does not have a case, or at least a case the attorney would feel comfortable pursuing and walking away empty handed. The unethical (and often illegal) action would be for the attorney to file the frivolous lawsuit and milk the client for the time.
As business owners, we want to knock our clients expectations out of the park. We literally want to do such a good job for our clients that they will no longer require our services. In the aforementioned example, doing the best job for their client netted a whopping $0.00 gain. The morally-sound business owner oftentimes must sacrifice short-term gains for real value in the long term and development of a relationship with a customer.
Who is Fooling Who?
Former President George W. Bush once described an old saying in Tennessee, “Fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again.” While this was simply a blunder during a speaking engagement, it is not a far cry from the truth. Referring back to the aforementioned example, if the attorney charged the man to file a frivolous lawsuit (effectively robbing the gentleman) he would be effectively closing off any chance of receiving return business from the man he just cheated. By taking the moral action, the Attorney has the opportunity to develop trust with the man (trust being the foundation to any relationship). With that trust, the attorney maximizes his chances of receiving business from the man in the event he comes forward with a pursuable case (resulting in more money than he could have netted by taking the immoral action).
End all Relationships on a High Note
As a service provider, if your organization is wholly unaware as to why a client is no longer utilizing your services or the reason is something other than satisfactory performance of services, then there is probably room for improvement. Before any client disappears into the abyss, be sure to thank them for their patronage and be able to answer these 5 questions:
Was the client happy with the services they received?
What could I have done to improve efficiency, client experience, or minimize expenses?
What systems do I have in place to maintain communication and attract a return?
Do I have a system in place to reward ex-clients for bringing new business?
What changes will I make to my business?
In summary, we urge all business owners to focus on operating within appropriate moral parameters to protect the prospect of receiving return business. Understand, doing the best job you can for a client will always fall in lockstep with moral standards, while strictly attempting to maximize profits does not. Historical performance of services at an exceptional level does more to indicate the potential success of a business than many other contemporary factors.
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Michael Chiovitti, Chief Talent Strategist
Eden Resources, LLC