It’s no secret that the customer-showroom relationship has changed dramatically thanks significantly to consumer access to information that only a few years ago was proprietary. Details, specifications, professional and peer reviews are readily available within a few clicks. As Daniel Pink points out in his book To Sell Is Human, we have gone from Caveat Emptor – buyer beware to Caveat Venditor – seller beware.
It’s great to listen to what your customers want and believe they need, but what happens when customers don’t agree? How do you handle situations when you know whatever you tell your customer is going to generate a negative reaction that it may take 30 to 40 weeks for their products to be delivered?
What happens when you put a red cow in your showroom and some customers simply love it and others think you have lost your mind? What good is testing a prototype if half your customer base finds it irresistible and the other half finds it detestable? We know that customer opinion is not always consistent. How do you take opposing opinions and make sense out of them?
One solution when one group of customers says white and another group says black is to find a middle ground. Maybe the best solution would be to order something in grey.
Second, try to figure out why one group of customers feels a certain way and another group believes the exact opposite. What is it about a particular product or policy that strikes someone’s fancy and makes another grimace? Whose opinion should carry more weight? Why?
Third make sure you keep the channels of communications open with employees. They need to know the reasons why some customers want black and others want white. They are on the front lines and can be an invaluable source of knowledge and customer demand.