Clichés wouldn’t have become clichés unless they resonated. But these days, it feels like businesses are afraid to embrace these fundamental truths and instead work desperately to “think outside the box” and “reinvent the wheel” (without phrasing it that way, of course, or they would perpetuate more dreaded clichés).
Obviously, not all clichés are helpful. Some are shortcuts and euphemisms that serve only to shield people’s true thoughts and keep them from voicing their opinions. However, these three clichés stand the test of time and should be reintroduced into the workplace vernacular:
1. The customer is always right.
This notion might be frustrating, but it’s important to respect customers’ points of view and to try to please them, no matter how difficult they might be. A recent study found that 76 percent of Americans consider customer service the “true test” of how much a company values them. Companies that rank customers as their top priorities will naturally have better customer service.
Those who object to this cliché are probably taking it too literally. Clients always being “right” doesn’t necessarily mean that anything they say goes, but they must feel satisfied. The customer isn’t always right, of course, but it usually doesn’t matter: Every problem is an opportunity to make the customer happier.
2. It’s a win-win situation.
Everybody involved in a transaction should feel like they’re winning; it’s the core concept of any great business. Whenever one side ceases to “win,” it signals a work relationship starting to go bad.
For years, my company Crowd Surf usually ended up on the losing end of our customer relationships. We would go above and beyond to make our clients and employees happy but often, without realizing it, did so without direct benefit to us. Taking on too much makes leading more difficult because becoming exhausted hinders communication and judgment.
More recently, we’ve prioritized making all our relationships “win-win” and have seen positive changes in every level of our organization.
3. It is what it is.
In business, some factors are completely out of the entrepreneur’s control, so he just needs to learn how to let go and realize “it is what it is.” No matter how many emails you send, you can’t change a bad deal or a terrible concept.
When Jade and I started Crowd Surf, we took on any client who would pay us, thinking our online marketing campaigns could be successful -- regardless of the product’s quality. Big mistake. No matter how amazing our campaigns, the bad products failed. We had to accept that “it is what it is” -- that we weren’t going to make a lousy product better with an awesome campaign.
When a strategy has been experimented with and given time to succeed and is still underperforming, it can be smart to quit and move on. It’s important to know when to preserve energy for use when it matters. The sooner entrepreneurs can shrug their shoulders and move to the next task, the sooner they can focus on innovating, growing and making customers happy.
These phrases are as simple as they come, but each can influence mindsets, and therefore careers, in a positive way. They can help maintain the focus on nurturing happy client-vendor relationships and prevent entrepreneurs from expending too much energy on situations that aren’t worthwhile. Reconsider these clichés, remembering that they’re well-worn for a reason.