If you haven’t already read the articles about Maryam Nickoslast, I’ll sum it up. She returned a printer 7 years after buying it from Costco.
While Costco has a liberal and generous return policy the likes of which is virtually unparalleled, even they have their limits. After that little trick, Costco revoked he membership. “It is apparent from a review of your membership account that you are not happy with the products you have purchased from Costco, and we are unable to satisfy you as a member.” Of course, having the high standard of customer service that they do, they refunded her for the printer and for her membership as well.
Here’s what I love about that story.
Costco fired their customer.
Costco. The company that excels at customer service and embodies the mantra ‘the customer is always right’.
I love it because it speaks to the necessity of firing customers sometimes. The customer is always right. But sometimes, even if you’re highly engaged with them, and do everything in your power to satisfy them, they are still unsatisfiable.
In real estate, agents dash to and fro at the speed of light, jumping to the pump to service every perceivable need for their clients. It’s just par for the course. And it should continue to be the measure of our professionalism, dedication and service. However, I think there also needs to be that bit of permission to say no.
The unfortunate truth is, there are unreasonable, belligerent, and even insulting personalities out there who, if you try to engage with them and serve them to the best of your ability, are never satisfied, unreasonable in their expectations and the resulting interchanges they will do you more harm than if you’d never dealt with them in the first place.
In my almost 27 years, it’s happened just a handful of times where I needed to refuse or discontinue service. Generally it’s kind of a Costco situation where I’m being taken advantage of and then insulted about it to boot. These kinds of situations that make you want to pull your hair out are something that happens to us all. I have seen it in retail environments too, where I have extreme empathy for the employee facing an unhappy customer who turns a simple transaction into a war of hurtful words.
Here’s the point. If you are a real estate agent floundering under the tyranny of a demanding or bullying client that simply will not be satisfied no matter how much you bend to their will, give yourself permission to respectfully send them away. It’s okay to say no. It is. I realized very early on in my professional life that I cannot be everything to everyone. Sometimes, 2 good people don't see eye to eye, other times other influences beyond my scope of control are in play that suddenly turned south.
And I promise, if you release them and yourself from the locked-horns scenario, you and likely, they will feel much better.
Inner peace is possible. Sometimes it’s as simple as two little letters.