The Customer is Always Right.
This statement has been the mantra of the customer service world since the beginning. It could not be further from the truth.
Just because a customer is paying doesn't mean they're good for your business. There will always be manipulative and toxic customers you just don't want to be involved with, no matter how much you need the money. Those customers are going to end up costing you in the end. Big time.
And remember, you don't have to keep every customer. You're better off catering to happy and satisfied customers than convincing every single person to buy from you. This insight you an excellent leverage. You have the ability to fire customers who are toxic for your business, instead of wasting resources serving their every whim.
Here are six telltale signs that the customer is just not worth it.
A word of caution though, don't be too quick to jump to conclusion that a certain customer is bad. Use your better judgment to evaluate the working circumstance and see if you will work well with them or not.
1. Customer is Unreasonable
This can vary customer from customer, but you'll know it when you see it. It can take the form of a customer who wants instant results and expects everything done now, without paying regard to you or other customers.
If you feel that a customer is being unreasonable more often than not, it's time to politely tell them you can no longer cope with their needs and it would be best if they seek a solution elsewhere.
2. Customer Micromanages
Micromanagement is expensive for you and, by extension, your client. If you think you're the right person for the job and your client is working with you for a good reason, don't let them interfere with your work.
It is okay for a client to want to be kept in the loop and to want their suggestions incorporated, but it is overkill if they badger you to do things their way. This ends with frustration for you, and you're still left with an unsatisfied client.
3. Customer Won't Pay Up
Frequently enough you'll come across customers who don't want to pay. Especially in the services industry.
Worst are the kind of clients who become unresponsive after you prompt them for payment, making your request seem like something inappropriate.
There will always be people who don't think your product or service isn't worth their money. Or those who think that—because they're strapped for cash—you've suddenly lost all desire to be compensated for your hard work. Proceed to make it clear that such is not the case, and that you would like to be paid.
If they're still insistent that they can't pay for your service, or offer to pay obscenely little money, let them go. They're simply not worth the effort "negotiating."
4. Customer is Abusive or Unpleasant to Work With
Welcome to the sad reality of customer service. The bane of businesses. Customers who think the person on the other end of the phone/chat/email isn't human.
"Customer was rude to one of my support representatives. I refunded his $2,000 purchase and banned him for life. IWT sticks by our employees."
— Ramit Sethi (@ramit) September 12, 2014
If someone abuses you or your staff or makes working an unpleasant experience, get rid of those customers. Your company needs your employees' loyalty more than it needs a high-maintenance customer who cannot demonstrate basic courtesy.
5. Customer Takes Up too Much Company Time
If someone is reaching out to you far too frequently, and it is eating into your company's time more than a single customer should be able to, maybe it's time to let them go. These sort of customers usually manifest themselves in the following two ways:
Customers who are lazy. These customers won't think twice before bothering you with a simple problem whose solution is already mentioned on your website or you've already discussed. The will needlessly leech off your company's resources if you don't get rid of them.
Customers with real concerns. These people who have a real problems they need solved. You must understand the scope of their problems and whether it's worth your time to actually solve it, for working on it may cause you to diverge from your company's goals.
If you decide a customer isn't worth the time they're taking up, drop them. You'll be saving the company resources to be spent elsewhere.
6. Customer Threatens You
There will always be customers threatening to take their business elsewhere. This is a scare tactic to compel you to their point-of-view. Don't let these unprofessional customers hold you hostage. If they're insistent that someone else can do a better job, you're better off not having them as a customer.
Sometimes a customer may also threat to air an issue on social media. Even though you shouldn't underestimate the power of social media to make or break a business, you shouldn't back down if you're in the right. The Internet has a way of delivering justice to bullies who misuse it.
No matter how much you think you need the sale, make sure you know who you're getting into business with. The wrong client could end up costing you more than you think.
Look for the above signs in a customer, and if you see any red flags, they might bot be worth the effort you're giving them.