From today’s Profitable Horseman newsletter in case you didn’t see it….
There is no denying it. You can’t be in business without having customer problems surface routinely. And as a business owner, problem solving is what you’re paid to do all day. You’ve heard these problems before:
“My horse looks thin. Are you feeding him enough? Can you help?”
“She has no respect for other riders’ space when riding in the arena. Can you help?
“He is always using my lead line and never returning it, can you help?
Some days you feel like a substitute parent for your adult customers to help solve their problems. Granted, frequently the solutions are simple for you, but not so for the customer. They don’t have your thousands of hours of experience and are seeking your help as a professional. Most of the time, they’re grateful for your help and advice and put that information to work for them as a lasting solution.
And then there are those customers with problems who don’t want your help. Problems like: horses that lead like they are still weanlings, horses that won’t load in a trailer or peacefully getting along with other customers at your farm. I call these problem customers-not customer problems. They are problem customers because of their attitudes. You most likely observed long ago, no matter how good your approach is, you can’t help someone who does not want to be helped.
And with this attitude, the problem customer becomes your problem. There are two solutions:
1. Ignore it and it will go away. This will work, but only after your good customers have gone away.
2. Have a discussion with the customer about the problem and how it affects others at your place of business and you as the owner. Offer your professional solutions on how to fix the problem.
If your solution is acceptable to the customer, proceed with solving the problem.
If your solution is not acceptable, give notice you wish them well with their next instructor, trainer or boarding barn owner without feeling guilty about it. You can’t help those who don’t want to be helped.