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The Customer IS ALWAYS Right!

The Customer IS ALWAYS Right!
By Rodney Camren

Happy New Year and I want to welcome you to the year 2015.  It is customary for many people to start a New Year with a New Year’s resolutions, for a positive change in their lives.  Some people want to lose weight, others stop smoking, and some want to pay off bills or save more money as part of their New Year’s Resolution.  

Research has shown you need 21 consecutive days to start a new habit.   I would like to challenge everyone this year to change your mindset.  Change your mindset from things always being me, me, me to a mindset of one from contribution and of service to others.  How many times have you gone to a business or government building and been treated “less than” or treated with a ”dismissive attitude” by the employees of the place in question or even by the elected leaders in your community?  Many of us have; in fact, it seems to be a very common attitude in many places today.  Many American’s claim to be of Christian faith; however their attitude and behavior towards others doesn’t really show the examples of a Christ-like mindset.  It is not only the Christians who claim the need for a service mentality you will find this mission across all religious borders.

So if we are all taught to be of service to others, why is there so much attitude and intentional hatred towards others?  Have you ever heard the quote “hurting people hurt others”?  It makes me wonder why there are so many people out there that hurt right now.  If rude and dismissive employees are hurting, they will be lashing out at customers unfairly.  If the customer themselves are hurting they will be lashing out at everyone in their paths.  Too often businesses and governments alike have become more transaction oriented and there is no personal care for those who want or need their services.  There is no real connection.  There is a lot of work and emotions to being a service to people.  The ups and downs of not only the transaction but all parties’ emotions involved too.  It is easier and less draining to not be involved personally and just give the attitude of here is the transaction, take it or leave it than it is to go the emotional journey to the end.   Many times businesses and governments claim they are servants and want  to help and are eager to hear what you have to say, however, when you give them comments they never really address the customers’ needs or concerns.  This dismissive behavior reinforces a feeling of betrayal when lured into believing that their input matters.   When a customer comes to you and they clearly have a chip on their shoulder, ask yourself, could this person have just  gotten into an argument with their spouse?  Could this person be facing the challenges of bad news for themselves or a family member regarding a disease or financial devastations?  Could this person still be suffering the long term afflictions of losing a loved one?  There are so many challenges in life’s daily journey, it is hard to be a positive go lucky individual at times, or is it.  From all of my reading materials happiness is not a place but a choice.  Remember, not everyone gets that yet.

I just finished reading the national bestseller “The Starbucks Experience” by Joseph A. Michelli and what an amazing read it was for me.   So you are probably asking what does positive/negative attitudes and Starbucks Coffee have in common?  Since 1992 Starbucks is a company that’s stock has risen 5,000%.  They didn’t do this because their coffee is superior to all other coffees, you can get coffee anywhere.  According to Mr. Michelli, “The genius of Starbucks success lies in its ability to create personalized customer experiences.”  When you come from service and contribution you as a business owner or service provider also create customer loyalty.   In many cases in the book there are stories of angry costumers that come into the stores and yet the barista’s didn’t retaliate they “connected, discovered, and responded”.   They are taught to take the emotional journey with their clients.  Instead of saying no, they find a solution.  Things are not always so black and white; sometime you have to find the various shades of gray in certain circumstances.   Are you a leader in business or government that encourages people not to ask “yes” or “no” but “how”?  If not, I encourage you to start looking in those terms.  Once you help or elevate others they in turn will help and elevate you too.  At Keller Williams Realty we are taught to find out the clients’ “BIG WHY”.  What is it that motivates them and how is it I can be of service to them?   We all have a big why, there is something that always motivates you to get you moving in the direction you need to go.  Once knowing what that big why is, you can move faster and with greater ease.   When you share it with others and they help you get to that big why it becomes a win-win.  You help others to succeed and they will help you.  You see it is not what you do or choose in life as a career, we all have a job.  Each job has day to day things to do that come with the job description.  Sometimes those day to day things are not fun or easy.   The mentality and actions one should take isn’t I am a _________________ (fill in the blank with your career/job).  The true mentality and actions of a person should be I am in the customer service business and I just happen to be in ________________ (fill in the blank with your career/job).   

Too often you find a dismissive attitude with our elected leaders and different levels of government.  This is the one place that you shouldn’t see this behavior EVER.  When people of a community pay taxes and work hard every day to barely get ahead and then get treated in a manner of “less than” is just downright shameful and inexcusable.  There are many who won’t return calls, emails or letters and yet they claim to be their representative.  Who wants anyone like that for a representative?  Not me.   I have witnessed too often this behavior and attitude in national and local community politics as well.  Of all the people I know and have met over the years in government two elected officials standout above all and continue to impress me.  One is our Gwinnett County Commissioner Chairman, Charlotte Nash.  The other is Lawrenceville House Representative Valerie Clark.  Valerie is one of those who will give you the shirt off her back.  She will also eagerly listen to your story and find a solution.  Black and White is not her way of responding to things, she knows there are gray areas for it to be a win-win for everyone.  Her kindness and positive attitude is that of what makes great leaders in a community.   Charlotte Nash is one who in my eyes is a true servant.  She is non-stop in her efforts to leave this county a better place than she found it.  I have personally witnessed where people have made ugly statements about a situation and within the day she has reached out to the person having a problem, found the people responsible and corrected the complaint.  She is also eager to recognize and elevate all the good people in our community.  She is attentive to all the needs of over 800,000 people and I personally think she cares for the well-being of each and if she can make it better she will.  Whether we are leaders, business owners, employees of tax payer dollars, we are all in this world together. We are all in this community together.  So the next time you are in the room with another person, in a situation with another person remember they could be hurting if their actions are cruel.  It is each and every one of us who decides to be kind, nice and find the gray areas for all to be happy.  Michelli states “all of us leave some mark on the world.  What varies is whether that mark is positive or negative.  Do we give back more than we take, or do we take more than we give?” It is not just about the profit goals in business but also the powerful and positive impact of connecting with people and communities.  As we journey forward another year get involved with people and community, come from contribution and a win-win attitude, be brave to step outside of the black and white and get into the emotional journey of the gray.  There are positive & powerful things that will happen when you do.  Joseph Michelli and I leave you with a statement from Margaret Mead “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Thank you to January 2015 New Lawrenceville media sponsors – 
Your Senior Insurance
Cuernavaca Grill
Booth Insurance Group
Lighthouse Express Car Wash
Celeste Giordano
Computer Workx
Lightning Tax Services
Blue Rooster
Cartridge World
Susan Rogers Travels
Miracles of Massage


New-Lvlle-roundThis article is sponsored by New Lawrenceville. New Lawrenceville is a FREE networking organization of businesses and volunteers that are working to bring community together.

Author Rodney Camren helps to lead New Lawrenceville in an effort to promote buying locally, educate the community on issues that affect our community. Rodney Camren is a Real Estate Agent with Keller Wiliams.