How the Lighthouse Man deals with “One of Those Customers”
We have all had “One of those Customer”. Over my many years of being a small business owner I can honestly say I have seen and heard about everything and anything that you could ever imagine. It doesn’t take long before one realizes that every so often you will encounter someone who is a little too “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”. They rant and rave, spewing profanity and prowling around the internet just trying to argue with anyone that will listen. While most are very rude or annoying, some do demand true anger management intervention. As a rule this is how we at the Lighthouse Man deal with “Those Customers” A) We will be polite, and prompt and answer the questions or concerns immediately. B) We will not react or respond to profanity, rude or crude behavior as more then often these types of customers thrive or live for reactions and confrontation as they simply just want to fight and unfortunately NOTHING you or anyone can say or do will be enough to satisfy them. C) We will Keep Focus on the Task: We will not get caught in the drama, fall into word trap games or go against our written policies clearly displayed on our web site. If we can help the customer we will absolutely do it with no questions asked, but if there is nothing we can do after all is said and done the situation will be dismissed and we will close the case and agree to disagree. At this time all communication will be terminated and we will not reply or further escalate the situation.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a customer tell me “The customer is always right” This is a motto that several of “THOSE customers” live by and they feel that every company should bow at their feet and give into their every demand. The problem is, the customer isn’t always right, and when small business owners think otherwise this can result in serious disservice to their business, their employees, and their customers. Here’s why. A) Unreasonable customers eat away at your finite resources. As a small business we only have limited resources available to us; We simply can’t allocate a disproportionate amount of them to customers who you will never make happy or they are repeatedly causing problems. I always tell my employees If you’ve tried your best to address a complaint and the customer still isn’t happy and they are using profanity or just being unreasonable then it’s time to move on from that customer. B) This mindset positions employees against customers and management. We are very luck here at the Lighthouse Man as we have great employees who we trust and respect, we do not want to risk losing them by siding with the customer by default. When you tell your employees “the customer is always right”, you immediately position them against the customer – and the customer always wins. If you want to keep your employees happy and effective then I feel I must and will back them up when they are right and follow our written policies. This proves to them that you respect their judgment and opinions, and when faced with siding with your employee or an unreasonable customer, I will always choose my employees. C) Money isn’t everything. Not even close. We’ve all had those customers who have unrealistic expectations of what we can or should do to keep them happy. They demand more and more and are never happy. This is where we are not afraid to cut ties with customers or clients who repeatedly make unrealistic demands or who consistently cause stress or friction. Rather than continually sacrificing our time, dignity and emotional health. We at the Lighthouse Man focus our efforts on actively pursuing new customers or clients who respect our time and boundaries.
Now after dealing with one of “those customers” I always step back and try to learn from them; this doesn’t mean that I give into them to keep them as a customer, but what I’m saying is that I always try to learn from these situations and ask myself what can I do differently in the future to avoid a similar situation or problem from happening again.
In closing I want to make this very clear we at The Lighthouse Man take great pride in our customer service and we will bend over backwards to assist our professional educated customers, but when we get one of those Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs customers I’m simply saying this: We as a small business will look at the bigger picture and when we our dealing with consistently, unreasonable customers or clients we must look at what’s really important, and ask ourselves this question: Is repeatedly attempting to please an (unpleaseable) customer really the best business decision?