When you are in the business with dealing with customers or consumers, you have an added responsibility to making the right decisions. Anyone remember the simple statement, “the customer is always right”? How many times have you heard that term? How many times as a customer have you been told different? There is always two sides of every issue… How do you make the right decision when you are dealing with a customer? I believe that there are some simple sets to help guide you through making the best possible decision – for all parties.
It all starts with problem recognition. If there is no problem, then a decision really is not necessary. Problems can pop up from almost anywhere. A client may have a problem or a need that he/she wants addressed. When you hear about it, then you have to act.
Not everyone of us are expects in every field. We need to search for answers. We need to find and ask the experts to help us. If you are lucky enough to have experienced a particular problem or need in the past – it definitely shortens you searching process. Either way you need to look for answers.
Once you have some answers, you need to evaluate the alternatives. Some customers are pretty good at articulating what they expect as an answer (or at the very least close to what will satisfy). We need to evaluate everything that we found in the search process.
Having what the customer articulated and your alternatives handy will help with the selection process. You have done your homework, you found alternatives, you have looked at the pros and cons of each alternative and hopefully the customer has helped with articulating what they expect.
Time to communicate your selected alternative to the customer. Bring forth the criteria, alternatives and then communicate the why you selected what you did. The decision definitely need to take into account what the customer has articulated to you. If you selected something different that what was expected, you must be prepared to communicate with data the why… Sometimes the customer is not right or they don’t completely understand. You must make them feel like they are a part of the overall decision making process. In some case, they are paying a much higher price.
How long does this take? Well, that totally depends on the situation and circumstances that you are in. The customer would like everything to happen as soon as possible (yesterday). If this is a critical need or an emotional issue – speed is important. The faster you can do your work the better. No one likes to wait…