What counts is our
reaction to criticism
The challenging thing to cope with and attend to is our visceral reaction to criticism. The unhappy customer lays his story at our feet, and we hastily pick it up, place it on our shoulders and carry it around with us. Yes, sometimes our products or services fall short, sometimes we get it wrong even when we’re doing our best. We should always apologize for failing to meet expectations and do what we can to resolve the problem. What we must also do is recognize that often the customer’s fear, anger, remorse or disappointment has less to do with a bad experience and more to do with what’s going on in his/her life right now.
You WILL have unhappy customers, no matter how caring and diligent you are. There is no way to avoid the pain of this fact.
So yes, take responsibility for your mistakes and fix the things you can fix—while remembering there are some things you have no way of making good.
Jiwa points out that some of the greatest lessons unhappy customers (and in our case unhappy listeners) can teach us are not about improving systems, processes and logistics, which in the end are easily fixed.
The important learnings are about ourselves, and our resilience and determination to do good work and make a difference to the people we get the chance to serve again tomorrow and the day after that.
Bernadette Jiwa is a recognised global authority on business philosophy and the role of story and identity in business, innovation and marketing, She is a Business Advisor, Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author of six #1 Amazon Bestsellers.
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