Being Humble in Business

Business owners that understand this one concept can do extremely well with their own business.

Being humble encompasses a lot of things. Primarily I’m talking about learning the amazing skill of “The customer is always right.”

This has nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with a philosophy of business that, if you adhere to it – becomes an amazing tool that pays for itself over and over.

Learning to turn an angry customer into a satisfied customer is a great skill to acquire and it takes practice.

In life – in our relationships with people outside of any business relationship we can have disagreements with people and insist that we are correct. We can argue, fight, whatever we want to do in order to prove our point and we’d be “right” in our minds for doing that in many cases, if the point was important enough.

In business the ONLY important parts are:

1. Give people something of value.
2. Charge them money or some other “currency” for it.

Winning arguments is not the important part.
The big picture is that if you are arguing with your customer and insisting you’re right, there are going to be 2 losers. You, and the customer.

Your customer, because they are arguing – has presumably lost something already. You have the power to make this a win-win or a win-lose.

A win-lose might take two forms.

1. You drop your side of the argument. Just don’t argue anymore. You can’t do what the customer is asking for, something went horribly wrong – it wasn’t your fault or your businesses fault. You can’t help the other person no matter what you do. There’s no sense arguing or talking about it anymore. You “won” and the customer lost, but it’s unavoidable. That’s reality. You “won” because you didn’t lose any cash or inventory or whatever it was. You lost too because you won’t ever see that customer again – but, it’s a cost of doing business. Call it a loss.

2. You decide to bend over backwards and sideways for this customer. You do whatever you can to make it “right”. You go the extra effort and give them an outcome they’re happy with. You do it willingly and in the spirit of “helping”. You don’t need to do it, you just do it anyway. The customer won, and you lost. You lost because you lost money or something else that’s tangible. You won though because that customer will speak better of you, and, if (s)he was in a position of influence among other customers or potential customers you won big.

A lose-lose takes place when you argue with a customer, you don’t back down, and yet you COULD have made it right with a minor or moderate loss to your business. These are the most preventable forms of lose-lose interactions that occur.

Your ego shouldn’t be in front of your business. If you want your business to continue… to thrive, you’ve got to drop the ego and make it right for the customer.

If the customer is being reasonable… like maybe they’re trying to return an item that the warranty ran out on at midnight, but it’s now 9 a.m. and you’re the OEM – (Original Equipment Manufacturer) you can make that right with a minimum of loss. You must. That’s reasonable.

If someone is complaining about also getting the difference between what they paid a week ago and the price the product/service is now – can you do that? Maybe offer them half back if you can’t reason with the person. Give them something that enables them to turn around gracefully and walk out with something. Sometimes what’s reasonable isn’t what the owner of a business thinks. It’s tough to put yourself in a mindset of every customer that doesn’t “get it”, but it will help your business grow and expand over the years as more people here about your fair dealings and fewer arguments.

If the customer is unreasonable – call it a loss and stop arguing. Offer the customer something as a token of your intent – 30% off their next purchase or something to settle them a bit. You can’t give in to every unreasonable person that is dissatisfied with your business. But you can give them something!

Swallow your pride. Eliminate your ego when dealing with customers. Be humble. Practice being humble. Practice making win-wins at your expense. That’s what business is – two sides coming to agreement. You hope it goes smoothly after the sale, and in most cases it will – but, you may have another opportunity to make it “right” later when things go wrong for that customer.

Make it right whenever you can by giving something – even a little, when normally you might not – and your business will grow.