Crappy customers are born crappy…
I used to work at a bookstore. Most people that shop at bookstores are reasonably enjoyable to do business with. After all, there’s not a lot of mystery around books. You get what you get and no one blames you if the plot-line sucks 30 pages in.
But, the people who get upset… really get upset.
There were times when not having a hardback copy of, “The Purpose Driven Life” might as well have been the end of modern civilization as we know it. Insults, Yelp review threats, asking for discounts… you name it, it happened. After 10–15 minutes of apologizing, offering a discount, and apologizing again, the customer would leave and we’d sigh, “Phew… hopefully we did enough to keep them coming back!”
These customers used to keep me up at night… until I noticed something.
Our store was next to a coffee shop. It’s way easier to screw up coffee than to screw up selling a book. Customers have extremely specific orders, and give you instant feedback the second that first sip takes place. I became friends with the people at the shop and we began to swap stories.
Turns out, the people who complain at a coffee shop, also complain at a bookstore and also complain about their doctor’s office and also complain about their child’s teacher, their yard service, their work… you get it.
You don’t have to spend your days appeasing crappy customers, there are enough great ones out there!
I dare you to take these 3 steps and apply them to wherever you work.
- Fire crappy customers: It’s easy, it’s cheap and it will add years onto your life. Simply remind the client screaming about how wronged they feel that they are free to take their disappointment to a different vendor.
- Give everything you have to your great customers: 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Answer every one of their calls, texts, emails as fast and as friendly as you can.
- Accept that crappy customers are born crappy: I promise, it’s really not you. It’s them! Make peace with it and move on.