In today’s day and age some customers are really entitled and take advantage of a lot of businesses because they can get away with it. Amazon and the big dogs just write it off as losses but its harder on the smaller guys. While being respectful and treating them fairly don’t be afraid to stand your ground and avoid being walked on. I had a customer make outlandish demands of me just yesterday and blackmailed me threatening facebook photos. I responded that I don’t appreciate the threat and while I’m happy to work out a fair solution that is not how we do business.
It amazes me the amount of customers that emotionally bully and harass my customer service reps. I listen to the recordings and it makes my blood boil. Screaming. Yelling. Name calling. That stuff has no place anywhere let alone lashing out on somebody who is just doing their job.
The bottom line is the customer ISN’T always right. When you make a mistake man up and do the right thing. But if you’re getting take advantage of have the guts to walk away even if it means saying goodbye to a large chunk of revenue and taking that negative review.
Saying NO is a skill that takes time to develop and it applies to basically everything in life. Taking on new customers is no exception.
Part of the problem is our inability to manage expectations. We naturally want to over promise and make sales and tout low cost and a quick timeline and amazing service. Things are stressful for you and the customer when you are constantly playing catch up and trying to meet those expectations. There is a fine art to closing deals by delivering the bad news or a worst case scenario right off the bat. I’m still working on that and I’ve gotten a lot better and sleep a lot easier at night and have a lot of surprised happy customers at the end and less fires to put out.
Scope creep is also huge. Customers want more and different and other and this and that. Not all of it is profitable. The extra stuff often causes more problems and more refunds and more wasted time. Track your time and spend it where you are profitable.
You should spend a good deal of energy vetting the customers. Its a two way street. It has to be a good match and a win win and anyone in business knows that some customers turn out to be a loss. Figure out how to spot them, get them out of your business and find a way to spot them before they become your problem.
Another thing to point out is that many business owners get emotional about getting every customer in the first place. We get a feeling like we have to win every customer at all costs and we get upset when we lose one.. Getting past that is part of the evolution.
To avoid the headaches before they start you have to realize that every customer isn’t for you. The negotiators aren’t for you. The picky ones aren’t for you. The customers that want the extras that aren’t in your wheelhouse or aren’t part of your core business aren’t for you. Your ideal customers want to pay a fair price for a lot of value.