Saturday, April 02, 2005

Don't Offend Your Customers

I found Josh Ledgard's blog just a couple days ago and it's already struck some great notes with me. His post Five Tips on How Not to Offend Customers has some terrific points. A few blurbs I found particularly spot-on:
  • From Respond Appropriately: "Just keep in mind how insulting it is to answer a customer who is pouring his/her heart into an issue with a paltry, two worded, semi-automated response."
  • From Don't Patronize: "Be honest. Be transparent about your progress. Be accountable to commitments you make to customers! Customers are smarter and have more understanding than they probably get credit for."
  • From Don't Adopt a "Boolean View" of the World: "Its far too easy, especially in non-face to face communication to interpret a response as someone trying to make you look stupid."
That last one is a sentance everyone dealing with customers (and users!) should sear into their memory. It's one thing to have a crusty personality when dealing face to face, but it's a completely different thing if you're corresponding via e-mail, blogs, wikis or even telephone conferences. Be crusty if that's who you are, but you'd dang well better put a filter on it and be sure you're not pissing off the customer so much that they start looking for someone less given to making them feel stupid. (Even if they are.)

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