Tim Sanders in his book The Likeability Factor emphasizes the need to improve one’s likeability in order to be successful. He cited several studies that prove how likeability affects your job, the judge’s decision in a court hearing and what not. What’s fascinating is that we see this in action in just about any interaction we engage in or see every day. How many times have you screamed at a clerk in a store because of a defective product only to see other complaining customers get serviced ahead of you? Likeability kicks in and you just blew it.
Having to deal with customers as part of my job, I sometimes get tempted to deal with them based on likeability. One incident occurred when an arrogant customer was requesting for an issue to be resolved immediately. Sure, we all wanted to keep customers happy to make them stay. But likeability proved to be right when I have assigned the task to somebody else instead of me doing it. Not because I can’t do it but simply because it would be counterproductive doing the work to solve the issue while at the same time having to deal with an arrogant customer.
Now there are two ways to deal with this (especially if they are your customers) but I doubt most people will chose both. One is to stay away from people whose likeability just hits the floor so as not to be affected by it. The other is to make them happy while pinpointing their character flaw. There’s always a nice way to say something not nice. It’s risky to do the latter especially when you try to keep business as purely business. But it does have some benefits. Having the customer realize that you are concerned with their overall welfare and not just their money as part of the business will make them long-time, committed customers. The choice is totally up to you to make.