DECEMBER 2018 SEEDWORLD.COM / 65 THE PREAMBLE TO the U.S. Declaration of Independence proclaims some fundamental truths and rights, including human equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — these things are self-evident. Most everything else needs a little explaining. As an example, when you have a new assignment for your employees, it’s important to tell them more than the basics of what they are to do; tell them why. Tell them why your customer wants, or needs, it that way. People are more responsive to a message when they understand why. Give them a reason for why, or how, the task will benefit them or benefit the customer. It’s one thing to clearly give an assign- ment. It becomes an entirely different assignment when you tell them why. Adding “why” gives your request purpose and meaning. Your doctor can tell you to take your medication, but a good doctor will why tell you why you need to take it and how it will benefit. One of our goals is to design seeds- manship into the equipment we manu- facture. A seedsmanship feature that I consider important may be overlooked or unappreciated by a customer unless I take the time to explain. Explaining to our customers why we make or do things the way we do adds value to their perception of our products. Features that are obvious and important to me and our engineers as they design new equipment are not always self-evident to our customers. Furthermore, explaining why adds clarity to your instructions. This is why we take the time to explain and share with customers why we make our equipment the way we do. The same idea applies when giving instructions to employees, especially new employees who are just learning. They may be confident that they have heard the words I spoke, but as I watch them I become equally confident they did not understand what I meant. Had I taken the time to explain why, they would have had a better understanding of my intentions. Explaining why adds an end goal to your instructions and gives employees an opportunity for initiative and innovation. Instead of merely working to finish an assignment, they will be working to accomplish a purpose that will presum- ably benefit customers. Taking an extra moment to explain why goes a long way toward making your meaning more self-evident and more effective. Add Clarity, Tell Them Why ROBIN O’MARA, O’MARA AG SERVICES PRESIDENT • YOUR CUSTOMERS CAN be, and frequently are, wrong. Either way, you should always afford them the right to be heard. Listening to customer complaints is also a way to gain valuable insight into issues surrounding your business. But listening does not dictate that you must acquiesce to unreasonable demands. Most customers who feel they have been wronged started with unreasonable demands or expectations. If refusing an unreasonable demand means you lose a customer – good for you. When responding to customer com- plaints, here are a few tips to keep in mind. 1. Support employees. Responding favorably to unreasonable demands tests your employees’ loyalty to you, your busi- ness and your policies. Your employees are your most valuable asset and your first line of defense against adversarial customers. Don’t discourage your employees by overriding their judge- ment when you show partiality to one customer over another simply because of an unreasonable complaint. 2. Be consistent. Making inconsist- ent responses to a common problem will undermine your business credibility. When unreasonable demands are based on false information, determine where the misinformation came from. If the misinformation is wide spread, decide how your business will react and keep your employees informed. 3. Recognize social media. The internet and social media have changed everything. When you resolve a cus- tomer’s legitimate or rightful complaint, few will ever know. But let someone out- finesse you into yielding to an unreason- able demand and your gullibility will be broadcast throughout social media Why Must Your Customer Always Be Right? JON MORELAND PETKUS NORTH AMERICA MANAGING DIRECTOR • before you return to your desk. 4. Focus on vital customers. Time is too valuable for you to afford to keep habitual complainers. According to the Pareto Principle (the 80:20 rule of the Law of the Vital Few), you can expect that 80 percent of customer complaints will come from 20 percent of your customers. You can also expect 80 percent of the time spent dealing with customer com- plaints will be spent on the 20 percent of complaints that were unreasonable in the first place. Perhaps it was appropriate for Marshall Field in Chicago and Harry Selfridge in London to claim their customers were always right as they established their retail businesses in the early 1900s. However, it was soon pointed out to both men that this view ignores the reality that custom- ers can be dishonest and have unrealistic expectations.