Get to know the customers you don’t want

One of the first rules we all learn in business is that The Customer is Always Right.  Less people know the whole quote which continues “even when they are wrong”.    A combination of an increasingly litigation riddled society, a deteriorating economy, higher levels of perceived stress and the disappearance of plain old fashioned courtesy and good manners have encouraged a breed of customer that is indeed often in the wrong.

I now believe that some customers are not worth having.

The customer is always right, even when they are wrong!

 

1. The over self important customer –

these guys believe they are your only customer and should always come first.  This is despite the fact that they only buy from you once in a blue moon.  They are given to demanding priority this and priority that, accompanied by an incredulous “but don’t you want my business?”

2. The needy customer –

these are much more subtle.  You may like them and enjoy chatting with them.  It takes careful reflection to work out that you have spent half your week servicing their every requirement for quotes and other questions and yet virtually never do they actually reach the point of ordering.

3. The more obviously indecisive.

They too are in constant contact because they are constantly changing their minds. You will have all but despaired before they place their order and then they have done, you get six calls after that with them changing it again.

4. The totally unreasonable –

and I grant you everyone wants a high level of service these days.  This lot, however, will demand you walk on water.  These are the people who will ask for a delivery within an hour despite the fact that you are two hours away and have no noticeable wings.

5. The bullies –

these guys upset your staff.  We all have to put up with a lot for the sake of our art, but every so often, there is a customer that makes one of your staff’s lives a living hell, with continuing rudeness and abuse.

6. The customer who cannot read –

or at least cannot read when it comes to your terms and conditions of business.  Every business deal is contractual to some degree – this lot operate believe themselves above having to read such detail, relying instead on the threat of taking their business away winning over being made to stick to a mere detail.

7. The tomorrow brigade –

these are the customers who are always going to be placing a mammoth order, if they get their own way over something now.

8. The customers that don’t pay –

may seem obvious but it is not all about sales figures.  An order that won’t get paid for is worse than no order at all.

 

These customers have several things in common.

They will appear perfectly pleasant till they have the slightest  sniff on not getting everything their way, they will turn into howling banshees.   Many will continually threaten to never use you again unless they get their own way.  All will take huge amounts of your time, energy and therefore your money, totally disproportionately to other customers.

 

Beware of Vampires

Like the vampires that they are, they will leave you drained and negative, both towards your business and your customers.  The moment this happens, the lifeblood of your business is draining.    Assess your customers very carefully and beware these types.  Life is too short and you and your business to valuable to let vampires kill them off.

 

 

3 Replies to “Get to know the customers you don’t want”

  1. interesting read!
    does make sense, but the ability to let go of business (that may not be really yours or worth chasing) is a skill too – its like being able to say “no” and when to say it.
    also, demanding customers form one of the reasons for continuous improvements in services and innovations – process, product, price etc.
    have a great day!
    sanjay

  2. We’ve all experienced them, recognising them from 10 paces is a skill in itself. The ability to say ‘no’ is a discipline which one was tempted to forgo [because on the face of it, the customer represented ‘cashflow’] – not any more.

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