Friday, April 4, 2014

Problem customers

     Free daily advice for people in small business
     from someone who has been there, done that.

     Clients and customers are the life blood of business. Each of them deserves your attention.

     But all customers are not good customers. Now and then, you run across one who is a pain.

     Some seem to be late in paying their bills--every time. Others haggle with you on every price. Maybe they bad mouth you to your face or behind your back, or maybe they simply criticize everything.

     Every business person puts up with a certain amount of this. It's part of meeting the public and serving them with products and services. 

     But when the situation gets out of hand, it's time for action. 

     I've found it useful to refer problem customers to my competition. In a nice way, of course.

     Example: A customer returns again and again to a florist to complain that the flowers she bought promptly died. Once is understandable, but when an on-going pattern develops, it's time to refer her to another florist.

     Example: A veterinarian helps a pet overcome an itching problem, but the owner is a know-it-all who insists after several visits that, although the pet is showing signs of recovering, the treatment should be changed to something learned on the Internet. Time to recommend a specialist down the road.

     Example: Painters of interior walls might refer fussy homeowners to others, and then concentrate on corporate and commercial accounts.

     Example: A financial adviser recommends several strategies for an argumentative new client. Even when the client makes money, he second guesses the strategy and frequently voices endless criticisms. Time to move on.

     I once learned a valuable lesson from a friend on Madison Avenue. He educated me on how advertising agencies deal with some of these problems. They call it "resigning the account" and it is a nice way of sending problems elsewhere.  

     Get rid of problem clients and customers. They waste your time. Replace them with those who appreciate what you do. 

     If you have questions on this or any other topic covered in these blogs,
     email me direct at: and put BLOG in the subject line.
     Your privacy always respected.

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