My husband and I got caught up in a fascinating show this past weekend. It was about people who decide to get wild animals and keep them as pets. I don't mean a lizard or something, I mean tigers, buffalo, boa constrictors, etc. It was pretty crazy. What was the most interesting to me, was that these people actually believed that they had a "special" relationship with the animal that would keep them safe.
In thinking more about this, I realize I do the same thing with my customers. I expect them to act a certain way. I think that because I do something for them, they will in turn do something for me. I let my guard down and expose myself to risk because we've enjoyed this friendly relationship for a time. Dangerous!
Around this time of year, when we are all under extreme pressure to meet this end of year goal or hit that specific number, we need our customers to act right. They don't. You see, they are under similar pressure to save their companies money, to submit an improved budget for next year, etc. My goals and their goals, simply aren't the same this time of year. I need them to keep giving us money, and they want to give us less money or stop giving us money altogether.
It is troublesome to say the least. I can hear myself, telling my boss something like, "Oh, they should be fine, we've got awesome relationships in there. Plus we helped them out earlier in the year with that issue they had". Suddenly my customers forget these things.
"Who are you?", I want to scream! "Don't you remember I came to the receptionist's baby shower, and gave a generous gift, and brought chips??? Seriously??? Are we acting like that did not happen???"
These same people who called you in tears, desperately needing help earlier in the year, will forget your kindness. They will forget that you helped them, how they thanked you, went on and on about how great you are.
It's a good reminder to me that business is just not emotional. You can certainly use that aspect when you need to, and you should absolutely try to remind your customers of those times. However, there are no guarantees that being nice will get you much of anything. Don't get me wrong, you should be nice, but to rely on that is about as crazy as keeping a lion in your back yard!