When customers are not the right fit…
Building a solid business reputation includes focusing on creating satisfied customers. The ultimate goal is for customers to become an advocate, proponent, supporter and cheerleader for your business.
Helping customers become an advocate or voice to others is a critical part of reputation building. Many “buy” decisions are made based on online product and company reviews from actual users and customers.
With that in mind, we have to evaluate and decide if a particular customer is in the best interest of our business. Bad customers are ones that are abusive to staff, make unreasonable demands, and often complain on social media when they are not met.
One Bad Apple …
Often, the entire staff knows this customer, and they cause a disruption in the natural flow of business. If the cost of dealing with a bad customer becomes more than the sales generated, it may be time to suggest alternative avenues for the customer. In order to protect the reputation of your business, you need an exit plan for ending relationships with bad customers.
There are a few customers that we simply cannot afford to deal with any longer. We offer discounts, free services and other concessions, only to find they ask for more. They sometimes stop payment, and report a complaint on social media, with watchdog organizations, and complaint websites.
If the level of bad reaches swearing and personal intimidation, that behavior should be a clear policy violation, a no go and non-starter. However, sometimes bad—as in, not happy with product or service—is a sign that there needs to be an investigation into the noted issues with the product or service.
When to Part Ways
As soon as a bad customer becomes evident, take steps to end the relationship. Briefly re-cap the situation and history of the relationship. Put the burden on yourself, apologize, and try to make the customer as happy as possible, understanding that complete satisfaction is impossible with some customers. Offer a refund. The goal is to part ways with the least drama as possible.