The Sound of Music is a wonderful film and a favorite of mine. There are tons of lessons about being yourself, doing what is right, and following your dream. A lot of people are doing the latter. Recessions often spur the entrepreneurial spirit, and it’s important to have focus when you start your own business. Each decision you make needs to revolve around solving the needs of your customer, and customer service is a massive part of growing your business. A wonderful lesson from The Sound of Music that relates to the small business world is winning over people’s hearts, even when they come to you with antagonism, AKA good customer service.
Climb Every Mountain
It can be hard to handle dissatisfied customers. Maybe they leave a scathing review that only tells one side of the story. Well, it’s important to take on the task of responding to those reviews as well. Like the Reverend Mother says to Maria, “These walls were not built to shut out problems. You have to face them.” Climb every mountain. Reply to every review your business receives if you can. You can respond to positive reviews and build a better relationship with that customer. Customer retention and even referrals from customers are wonderful results of providing good customer service. You have to make each customer feel special and valued throughout each step of the sales cycle and after sales care.
Cut the Nonsense
Remember when Maria first settles in at the Von Trapp household and the children immediately play a prank on her? Her response is a good takeaway for business owners that have irate customers. Address the issue head-on. Obviously, you’d rather avoid the issues that cause angry customers, but sometimes it simply happens. It’s important to put a name on the issue and work to resolve it. Take in the feedback from your customers and improve your product, service, and the customer experience. If you cut the nonsense and give honesty, empathy, and effort to solving your customer’s bad experience, you could actually win them over and use your response as an opportunity for growth rather than simply damage control. You can’t plug your ears and hope for the best. Take the time to listen and evaluate your customer feed back. That can really be the best way to grow your business because it can show you what’s working and what needs to go.
Is the Customer Always Right?
In order to provide the best user experience, you have to learn when the customer is right and when the customer is wrong. This country operates on the saying, “The customer is always right.” We have all been in line at the checkout where the person in front of us is arguing with the cashier, and you can tell that the customer is not right. This applies to business to business transactions, too. Before you climb that mountain to make sure your customer is happy, be sure there is a mountain in the first place. Most of the time, customer service is simple. If you are spending all your time solving the needs of one customer and your other customer relationships are sidelined, maybe that mountain isn’t worth climbing. Stay polite, professional, and focused on solving problems–not getting distracted.
You Can’t Respond to a Whistle
Perhaps the best scene in The Sound of Music is when Maria first meets the children and the Captain is encouraging her to use a whistle. She gives push-back to the idea of using a whistle for the children and for responding herself to a whistle. You can’t expect to jump, sit, and stay at any request a customer makes. A healthy customer relationship does not involve responding to whistles. In fact, Maria goes a step further and whistles at the Captain, asking him how she should call him. Showing personality behind the company image is a somewhat new concept. We’ve all seen Wendy’s Twitter account. You don’t have to take it that far, but displaying humanity and empathy in your customer responses and to represent your brand is a good thing. The human touch can go a long way in helping keep those customer relationships strong.