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What is satisfaction? Invite your customers to spy on you.

In the news recently. A couple who wanted to have their wedding at a ritzy five-star hotel found out in a not-so-pleasant way... it isn't going to happen. The hotel's wedding planner sent an email to her boss and accidentally cc'd the couple saying, "I know this probably doesn't sound very nice, but I am trying to put this wedding off as I don't think they are the type of people that we would want to have at Stoke Park."

I will avoid debating the rights of a private establishment to refuse service to whomever they choose. I'll also ignore the fact the bride in question is adult glamour model Pauline Bailey.

There’s another customer service lesson here besides remembering to watch the cc line in those emails. The lesson is: think positively about your customers and pretend like they’re eavesdropping on everything you say about them.

Except in very private environments where you are discussing specific customers in an orderly review, it is best to not speak ill of your customers. Ever. This is especially true of customers with whom you are going through a rough patch. “Thinking positively” of your customer not only prevents you from making poor comments that may be recorded or mis-delivered via emails, instant messaging and voicemails… it comes across positively in the tone you use when you speak directly to your customer.

This is akin to studies that show when you force a physical smile, your mood improves and your interaction becomes more friendly.

I am a long-time service professional. I’ve lived two situations where I found myself mistakenly communicating with someone other than the person I *thought* I was talking to. In both cases, I was instead speaking to a high-powered customer executive with buying authority. In both cases, the fact that I spoke professionally about the customer didn’t just save our sales team major headaches at the negotiating table. My demeanor actually bolstered the customer’s opinion of our firm!

By thinking positively about the customer and maintaining a level of professionalism in all communications, lemons can magically turn into lemonade. No sugar needed.

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