The customer is not always right…

The Customer is not always right-Kent

Most business owners are passionate about what they do and want to do the best work they can. They want to keep their customers happy, do a brilliant job and build a reputation on the back of this.

In my experience, successful business owners also treat their suppliers in a similar way, they are fair and honest and treat them with respect and expect the same back.

But like most things in life, there is a bell curve of behaviour and occasionally you are going to run into someone who doesn’t share your views, has unreasonable expectations or is, to put it bluntly, just plain just rude.

When this happens the first thing to decide is if your business can still service these types of customers or, if in doing so, it will cause you too much stress. If you can supply them and insulate yourself from the effect of their behaviour then all is good but if you can’t then you should consider turning them down.

You have a choice of who you work for and turning down the wrong customers can be just as important as keeping the right customers.

The right customers for your business will be a pleasure to deal with, will appreciate your work and will be forgiving if things go a bit wrong.

The wrong customers will be a pain from day one, difficult to deal with and god forbid if you put a foot wrong they will not forget it or let you forget it.

If you do find yourself with an unreasonable customer then here are some tips on how to deal with them.

  • Qualify customers

    If you can spend some time qualifying your customers. A client recently told me that they only work with “nice” people. That’s a great thing if you can do it, unreasonable people will cause you no end of problems. Nice people will understand. If you are going to be working with these people for years then time spent here will pay dividends.

  • Understand their position

    Customers can often have a reason for their unreasonableness and it can just be a matter of point of view. Unless they are just messing with you, then you may be able to empathise and at least try and understand their position.

  • Give them no-where to go

    If you agree a piece work with a customer then make sure everything is in writing and make sure you have a signed order form. If there are variations agreed then get something signed. Sometimes even if you have all this in place people can still act unreasonable. However, having agreements in writing will go a long way in your favour if things go south.

  • Stand your ground

    Some people will try and push you to test your mettle. You need to know when you need to push back. Sometimes, even if you are right, you need to walk away and cut your losses as it’s not worth arguing but sometimes you need to stand your ground. If you can back up your arguments then you should.

  • Consider a deal

    If you reach an impasse and can’t agree, then consider a deal – try to make it a win-win situation for all. Give some ground in a bid to move forward. Make it clear this is a one time thing. At some point though you might feel that you are the only one giving and may have to take the hit or walk away.

Running a business is difficult at the best of times, so working with unreasonable customers is best avoided – with a little planning you can reduce the number you deal with. 

You probably won’t be able to eliminate your interaction with them completely but you may be able to reduce the impact they have on your business.

By |2020-08-18T11:03:07+01:00July 16th, 2019|Blog, Customer Service, Opinion|0 Comments