5 Shades Of Customer Crazy: How To Turn Bad Customer Experiences Into Good Ones

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email The movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has become “Universal Pictures’ highest-grossing R-rated international release with $338.4 million,” according to Variety magazine. In the film...

The movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has become “Universal Pictures’ highest-grossing R-rated international release with $338.4 million,” according to Variety magazine. In the film the tormented, billionaire Christian Grey’s red room comes to life on screen.

It’s the type of movie that reminds you: one person’s perception of “crazy” is a typical day for another. This is also true in business.

If you’ve been in business for any length of time you’ve come to the lucid realization that sometimes customers … well, they are likely to say, and do, the darnedest things.


Is The Customer Always Right?

Some say yes – to a point. Others say, not a chance. In fact, some entrepreneurs can share valid reasons why ‘the customer is always right’ is wrong. However, when you have a front row seat to fifty shades of customer crazy, you will see (and plan for) the customer experience in an entirely new light.

Nonetheless, you can profit from good and bad customer experiences. With ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ in mind, here’s a look at five shades of customer crazy that would make any entrepreneur want to pull out rope and tape – and not in a good way.


Crazy knows no boundaries and crosses all borders. Tweet This! Crazy doesn’t discriminate. If Starbucks has crazy customers, so will you. Thankfully, you can leverage undesirable customer experiences like these to build a better business.



  1. “I am unsubscribing and will not be back as long as you advertise Widgets Inc.”

    Does your business conduct email marketing? If so, you can appreciate this even more. One cozy Spring afternoon, a member of our team forwarded me an email. This email, however, wasn’t the type of email most entrepreneurs like to receive.

    The sender asserted, “I am unsubscribing and will not be back as long as you advertise Widgets Inc.” Clearly, he had misgivings about Widgets Inc. And by association his misgivings about Widgets Inc. became ours. The interesting thing about business is this: you can be guilty by association, unknowingly. No offense taken; he was entitled to his opinions on Widgets Inc. However, he was not entitled to adjust our revenue model.

    Mindfully, if you collaborate with partners that cause more liability than good, you should rethink the relationship. However, in Joe Blow’s singular case—sometimes you need to take one for the team. You simply can’t be everything to everyone. As Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich, explains “Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished upon anyone who will accept them. If you are influenced by ‘opinions’ when you reach decisions, you will not succeed in any undertaking.” Joe … will be sorely missed.

  2. “I didn’t buy this.”

    If you haven’t met this customer—you will. He’ll say something like this: “It wasn’t me. I called, gave you my credit card information, but it wasn’t me.” If you run a business for any length of time – the infamous chargeback on a purchase that a customers’ alter ego made, without their consent, will occur.

    This type of customer will give you clarity on your purchase funnel. The lesson here is a good one. Create checks and balances through your entire customer journey. When done correctly, you mitigate loss and risk.

    For example, you should have a virtual phone system that logs customer calls (Exhibit A). Your website will benefit from lead gen forms for customers to initiate inquiries (Exhibit B). And thankfully you have a post-sale process that includes a follow-up email with a time-stamped order confirmation (Exhibit C).

    Unfortunately, there are customers that will try to exploit your business for their gain. Learn from them and let their shenanigans make you a better business. When you have the correct systems in place, you can confidently say: “One of your personalities paid for this and here’s the document trail. We appreciate your business; please hold for a brief customer survey.” (Okay, maybe not like that, but you get the gist.)


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