As a business owner, you have undoubtedly come across customers or potential customers who speak so badly of you that you wonder where they get all the venom from. What do you do with these people?
I am of the school of thought that a business should choose its customers i.e. do not go against your convictions, beliefs, morality and better judgement just because someone is paying you money. However, I also believe that all businesses exist solely to serve their customers. As a business, you should strive to delight everyone that you deal with.
From my experience, your worst critics can be turned into assets – into evangelists who will spread the good news about your business far and wide. You know why? Because if someone is very critical of you as a business, it automatically means they care enough to form opinions about you and communicate them to you. I see this as an opportunity to turn your worst critics into people who speak exceedingly well about you.
Now, as it turns out, many of your critics criticize you from points of little information. All it takes to show them that you are not as bad as they think is to be patient, to listen to them and to address their queries step by step in a clear and respectful manner.
For example, the guys over at DukaPress once received a very harsh email from a potential customer. They could have responded with equal venom or just ignored the critic. However, they chose to engage him in a conversation and address his concerns. Less than five emails later, the critic had made his first purchase at the DukaPress shop! Since then, he has made more purchases and even referred people to DukaPress. Imagine that…
So the next time you get a call or an email from a venomous critic, seize the opportunity to acquire an evangelist!