The Customer Is Always Right. Right?

At Georgia Powder Coating our business model is built around service. It’s how we differentiate ourselves from the competition. We like to say we are the Ritz-Carlton of power coating. It’s one of the reasons we were selected two years in a row as one of the best companies in North America according to Products Finishing Magazine. That said, sometimes great service requires more than saying, “my pleasure” after a thank you. What about when great service and unruliness collide, and is the customer always right? Recently we had a client that was very difficult to please – actually I don’t think they have ever been pleased with anything. After reworks, refunds, apologies, and trying to educate the client on realistic expectations, myself and my team were continuing to be verbally abused and even cussed. I struggled with how much abuse my team should be subject to. When should I draw the line? Where would addressing the client’s behavior be considered rude and not ‘service like’?

The answer to our struggles was hiding in plain sight: I discovered the unintended benefits of knowing your core values. You see we established that GPC’s core values are Integrity, Servant’s Heart, Customer Focused, Happy, Dedicated, Accountable, and Enthusiastic, and that clearly establishes who we are at the core. The issue with the unruly client is a core value issue if in order to do business, the client insists you and your team behave in a manner not in line with who you are at the core. At that point the client is no longer a healthy fit for your company. It’s often said the greatest asset of core values is knowing who you are. However, I believe an equally important asset of core values is knowing who you are not.

The same is true for personal relationships. That’s why it’s imperative to know who you are in Christ so you can quickly and decisively avoid a relationship that is not true to your core if necessary. Without establishing your values, every decision becomes a challenge and a opportunity to bend in an unhealthy direction. If you don’t have a clue where to start the process of establishing your values, I suggest finding out who Jesus is because, “God made human beings in his own image” (Genesis 9:6). This purest form of establishing your values guarantees success at this life. Know who you and your organization are so that, equally as important, you will know who you and your organization are not.   


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