Everything your customer says is true

It’s hard to be in business and not find yourself frequently frustrated by things that customers say. Customers misunderstand your product after speaking with you for ten minutes about it.  They reap great benefits from your product, but then report that it is “ok.”  You go out of your way to help customers, and in the next conversation they say everything but “thanks.”

Our natural inclination is to focus on how our customer is “wrong” or “doesn’t get it.”  Well, yes, your customer is often wrong, and often doesn’t get it.  But, as far as your customer is concerned, everything she says is true.

The only response you can have when your customer says something “wrong” is to accept that, although it may be wrong, it is true. It is tempting to fight you customer’s truth, denying it, arguing against it, resisting it, but that won’t get you anywhere.

If you focus on denying and resisting your customer’s truth, you won’t be able to see  a clear way out of this truth to a better truth. Let’s imagine that a customer says that she thinks a competitor’s product is as good as yours, but you know, with 100% certainty, that your product will work better for her than the competitor’s.  Should you focus on the fact that she is wrong, or focus on understanding her version of the truth?  Which will make it easier for you to deal with the situation? Which will make it easier for her to deal with you?

When your customer says something you don’t like, recognize the new reality.  Recognize your customer’s truth.  Then, you will be in a much better position to help your customer shift from her current idea of what is true to a different truth.


  • Rob Mangiafico
    Aug 06, 2010 - 10:29 am

    Great post Steve. Once you change you’re thinking with regards to customers (instead of complaining about them), you really can outshine the competition. This is what separates good companies from truly great, customer focused companies.

  • Steve Yastrow
    Aug 06, 2010 - 13:08 pm

    Thanks Rob. You’ve to change the way you think to change the way you do.

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