There’s been so much talk of ‘Customer Experience’ and ‘Voice of the Customer’ these last couple years that I feel like we’ve lost sight of an important fact – 100% customer satisfaction is a near impossible goal and one you shouldn’t necessarily strive for. Of course it’s good business practice, not to mention the right thing to do, to give your customers the best products, service, and experience possible. Customer experience drives customer retention, repeat sales, and referrals, which are critical to maintaining a healthy bottom line – we all know that. But it’s easy to forget, in the midst of striving for customer service excellence, that there are some customers we will never please and that we just need to let go.
We certainly see that here at Checkbox. As much as we try to qualify our leads and make sure we are selling customers the right product for them, there are times when clients’ needs either change after purchase or are misunderstood during the sales process, and they end up with a product that doesn’t work for them.
I recently spoke with a client in a situation like this. They purchased Checkbox Server survey software with the intention of using our API to make some modifications and integrate the software with their own front-end. Long story short, their developers got in way over their heads and they weren’t able to accomplish their online survey goals with Checkbox. We went back and forth a couple of times looking for a solution, but in the end we just couldn’t spare the development resources needed to take over their customization work for them. As much as it pained me to watch a customer walk away unsatisfied, I had to accept that Checkbox just wasn’t the right solution for them. They probably would have been better off purchasing a custom solution from one of our full-service competitors rather than trying to modify a somewhat off-the-shelf product.
Those types of customer interactions are though – I know I spent days wondering if we could have done a better job qualifying the sale. Had we realized earlier on in the process that our customer’s developers were trying to accomplish the near-impossible, we could have probably spared a lot of trouble on both sides. But in the end, all you can do is your best when it comes to finding the right fit for your clients – be it with your product or someone else’s.
And when it doesn’t work out, you sometimes have to make the difficult but smart business decision to let that client walk away unsatisfied. 100% customer satisfaction sounds great on paper, but it’s not worth sacrificing resources that you can’t afford in order to attain it.