When your customer demands something for free

This is a story about sticking to your guns.
Seth Kniep
March 22, 2019
Entrepreneurship
In the business world, the simplest mistakes can end up costing you thousands. And when you’re selling online, an error of just one keystroke can separate a major win from the ultimate loss.

I’ve seen this happen multiple times, both to other business owners and to me!

You miss a couple nights’ sleep, fat finger a key, hit ‘publish’ one second too early; and before you can blink, your 10% off coupon turns into a 100% off disaster!

I can’t sugarcoat it, these moments are brutal. But you rise past them, course correct, and get back in the game.

The real issues come up when your customers aren’t as willing to move on.

Recently, one of my Warrior Success team members made a very human mistake: she added a customer, “Mikey”, to a membership type that he hadn’t actually purchased. 

Once our staff member (let’s call her “Violet”) discovered the error, she sent an apology email, but naturally, she had to remove Mikey’s access to the materials he hadn’t purchased .

That’s where things got hairy.

“Please consider this my notice of intention to cancel, either I can regain access to the course  immediately, or my monthly subscription please be terminated.”

That was the last thing Mikey said to Violet before he went over her head and sent me an email

And to that I said…”No problem.”

“If you are demanding access to a course you never paid for, I would not give it to you. Here is why: it would teach you a horrible lesson about customer service and even more importantly: entrepreneurship.
You need skin in the game. The more skin in the game the harder you will hustle to build margin for you and those you love.
No one gave me any freebies as I built my online business. No one.
And yes, some people did make sincere mistakes with me along the way. But instead of demanding I get what I never paid for, I owned my success and channeled that energy into building wealth for myself.
Now go crush it my friend!”

I have no illusions about the services my company provides. They’re not priced for me to make a quick buck, because the value of the courses and memberships far exceed what many small-picture people consider a “friendly price”.

But why would I want to make a fast few pennies when I could do the work to show the value of what I sell, and build an empire of solid gold?

I show that value by not just giving Just One Dime’s offerings to anyone that asks (or threatens), and I will say no to a thousand wannapreneurs in order to train them on how they should be treating their customers. At the end of the day, the issue never comes down to price, even if they say it does, the issue comes down to value. It’s the same reason you would not spend $20,000 on a yellow pencil but that would be a steal for a brand new Tesla. Note  that the price did not change in that scenario.

What changed was the value of the item presented for purchase.

And the best part?

Just as Mikey was quick to anger, he was also quick to cool.

Seth,
I will own this one, please accept my sincere apologies[...]
You don't know how happy this email of yours has made me, it all makes perfect sense now,
Have an awesome day Seth,
PS. I owe Violet  an apology too!  

See what happened there?

Mikey’s final response to  Violet and me took humility, teachability, and honor—all traits that forecast a bright future for his business!

Mikey wouldn’t be the first to get hasty and lose his head. But unlike many more shortsighted entrepreneurs, he saw the problem in his approach, put his ego aside, and realized that not only were we helping him, he was helping himself. 

I show respect to my staff, to myself, and to my paying warriors by not folding in the face of demands for me to strip my company’s value to cover for a simple error.

And when I left the biggest tech company on the planet to build a world-class product? I didn’t do it with the intent of throwing respect away.

Does this advice apply to all companies?

No way!

Imagine that I found my calling as a fashion designer and Just One Dime was exclusively a clothing store. Picture my face as a print on everything—shirts, hats, lingerie, the works!

If my team accidentally shipped two of these deluxe shirts to a lucky customer who only bought one, would I email them with an additional invoice?

Absolutely not.  

If we sent them the wrong shirt, would I require they ship the incorrect shirt back before sending another?

No, no, and no.

Business owners who sell physical products, and even some virtual products like ebooks and music, can 100% not deal with sending accidental extras in the same way. In these business models, the onus cannot be on the customer to fix your mistakes!

Even in the case of high-end goods that can’t be easily written off, a customer would be in the right to expect at least a paid shipping sticker, and a coupon for their troubles if they got the wrong mink coat in the mail.

But if I found my calling as a gym owner/trainer and someone was upset that their card no longer granted accidental access to saunas they hadn’t paid for...this would have played out exactly the same way.

You have to respect the nuances in consumer expectations with regards to what you well, just like you respect the differences between your audience and the general population, and the differences in the platforms you advertise on.

Understand and respect the differences between a service-oriented business and a product-oriented business.

Go forward with the knowledge that you can increase your brand’s value by not caving to unreasonable demands, but keep in mind that multiple streams of income require multiple techniques to max them out!

And if you want to see a Seth-face shirt in the Just One Dime merch store, let me know with a follow and a shout on Instagram! Anything is possible.

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Seth Kniep

Married a pearl. Fathered 4 miracles. Fired his boss. Turned a single dime into $104,857. Today, a self-made millionaire, Seth and his team of 8 badass coaches teach entrepreneurs how to build passive income on Amazon.

Dead serious about building income on Amazon with eight successful coaches in a community of badass Amazon sellers? We created something we've never done before: the Amazon Growth Bundle full year coaching course.

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