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September 13, 2016

Firing Crazy Customers

Having a business can be incredibly rewarding but if you’ve worked with the public for any amount of time, you've likely experienced that 10% of your most difficult customers will take up 90% of your time. And when you’re already juggling family...

Having a business can be incredibly rewarding but if you’ve worked with the public for any amount of time, you’ve likely experienced that 10% of your most difficult customers will take up 90% of your time.

And when you’re already juggling family responsibilities, a career and the rest of your life, it’s not a good use of your time to spend hours and hours trying to make an impossible, unhappy customer happy. You have far more important things to do and far less demanding customers to serve.

That’s why you should fire them. 

That may sound harsh but I assure you, it’s not selfish, it’s smart.

Your business isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. You will be doing yourself and your demanding customer a favor when you part ways before you both end up in disappointment and frustration.

You can do this by being honest and politely explaining that you don’t think your business is a good fit. Or you can simply tell them you’re not available to take the specific order they’re requesting.

If you can identify a crazy customer early on in the process, it will help you fire them nicely and move on sooner. Here are a few red flags to watch out for to help you identify the crazies:

Their questions are accusatory from the get-go and resemble a CIA interrogation.

When you answer their questions, they still don’t seem to be satisfied or pleased. No answer is good enough.

They look for any and all ways to pay less while simultaneously asking for more.

They treat you like they’re doing you a favor by ordering and expect you to jump at their every request.

They’ve already friended and unfriended you three times on Facebook since you talked an hour ago.

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If you can fire crazy customers before they drain your energy and your time, your business will be more successful and you’ll have less gray hairs in the process!

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Leave a Comment

  1. Teresa Salley says:

    Oh if only this could apply to healthcare!! Our government bases its reimbursement to providers on patient satisfaction scores. You all know as well as I do, you can’t please them all… And the unpleasables squeak the loudest!

  2. Mary Black says:

    I love this article because my husband just fired our most difficult client last week. The cool part is that within 24 hours we not only filled her time slots on our calendar we filled 2 more as well. So we actually made money by loosing money.

    You have to get the totoxic relationships out of your life to create room for the healthy ones. This is as true in business as it is in our personal lives.

  3. Jennifer Butler says:

    I had a client like this. When he first called to request my services (I was cleaning school buses), he asked if I guaranteed my work. I told him I did, but at the end after I’d cleaned his bus, he refused to pay me. After talking to people in the office, I found out he’s a difficult person to deal with, so I have blackballed him and will never do work for him again, and will politely inform him of this should he desire to partake of my services in the future.

  4. Sandy says:

    So TRUE! I had an elderly couple who treated me AND my Broker so disrespectfully. They were mean, cutting, and even questioned our faith in Christ! It was awful and eye opening for a new real estate agent. With the help of my amazing Broker, we got through the transaction but I had to go take a business day and sit on the beach and talk to Jesus about it so He could tell me if I did something wrong. I came to peace with it but it took a few days! To this day, I still might twitch if you mention it. LESSON LEARNED!!

  5. Ramona Voight says:

    I once had the graphic arts person of an embroidery client spend 4! hours at my home deciding on the perfect shade of yellow for a design I was turning into embroidery. Since I was new in the business, I didn’t have the confidence to put an end to it. Not now! Today I know what my time is worth, and anything longer than a few minutes looking at sample cards gets billed as consultation.

  6. Nazanin says:

    When I had my own business I had a customer that he found it ok to yell at me while I services his store and sold him my products. The first two times I politely told him not to yell at me! Third time I just grabbed my products and walked off! The 10 dollars I made off of selling him products was not worth a second of my time to put up with his rudeness …

  7. Laura says:

    I took this article’s advice and “fired” a potential client. I just received an email back saying “After 30 years in business this is the first most inappropriate
    communication I’ve ever received.” This, after I spent six months consulting and writing FREE proposals for this company. I told them I could not wait more than another month without a definite response regarding forwarding the project (AKA payment) and was told I lack the ” professional conduct or patients expected in your profession.” I believe she meant “patience”. They were hiring me for editing and social media services- unfortunately they will have to edit (or not) on their own. It’s so freeing to get rid of them. Thanks for your advice! Onward and upward!