I’ve recently had two of my clients make some big changes to their membership programs – and in both cases they had folks come back to them who were upset with the changes. A few people were upset with the new pricing structure, others didn’t realize why things had to change at all, etc.
And of course, this caused both of my clients to have a moment of doubt. Did they do the right thing? Have they upset all their members? What if they made a big mistake with these changes? When someone pops up saying negative things about your business it is really easy to take that to heart and start to doubt the changes you are making.
When this happens bear in mind a few of things:
- People resist change, even if the change is good for them. It is human nature and I believe there are scientific studies that back this up – regardless of what you are changing you will always have people who resist that change. And in some cases they may get upset and possibly even angry about the changes.
- As so… when you make changes just *know* that you will get some resistance (and if you expect it then it doesn’t have to hit you so hard). There will probably be at least a few people who share their dismay over the changes.
- What is really important is the numbers. One of my clients was feeling pretty upset about what seemed like “a bunch of people upset with the changes in her membership”. However when we took a look at the numbers it was actually only 3 people (out of hundreds) that sent in emails about not liking the changes. No big deal in the grand scheme of things! If a few people are upset that is fine (and normal)… if a bunch of people are upset that may be something to consider.
- People speak up when they are upset, not when they are happy. So just know that for those few people who were upset, there are hundreds more that are perfectly happy with the changes – you just aren’t hearing from them.
- You have the right to make changes in your business. Even if you upset some people, this is YOUR business and you have the right do whatever you like with it. Of course you don’t want to go nutty and make changes that send all your clients running, but really… so long as you are still serving the needs of your niche market in an authentic and value-laden way then go to town!
I like to call these scenarios a ‘water off the ducks back’ moment – even though these emails can be upsetting you need to just let it go. Don’t take these kinds of feedback and criticism to heart, and be sure to stick to your guns! For example, if someone says I don’t like your new higher prices don’t say “oh, well let me discount that for you”… just thank them for their feedback and let them know that they are welcome back at anytime.
And beware the messers! Business Coach Chris Barrow teaches about “messers” – there are certain people who will NEVER be happy with what you do regardless of how much you try to help them. Even business will have a messer or two (or more!), the key is to recognize that they are messers and let them go. A nice note saying “I don’t think we are the right solution for you and so I am cancelling your account” is all that is needed here – cut the messers loose and save you (and your team) the headache of dealing with them.
So here’s to change! It is a necessary process for any business, especially as we grow and refine our offerings. Let me ask you – what will you change in 2009? Hmmm….