Or is the customer always right? That’s what you’ve always been
told. If you?re in business, you know how ridiculous that
statement is. The customer isn?t always right, the customer is
often wrong. Worse yet, you know it, he knows it, and he knows
you know. However, that is not the reason you fire a customer.
Sometimes a confrontational attitude is just a way for a customer
to save face when he knows it was his fault and not yours. There
is nothing wrong with letting the customer save face. You
apologize for the screw-up and tell him it will be taken care of
and, sometimes, this leads to a very good relationship with that
customer. Sometimes not.
There will be customers that no matter what you do, it’s not
right or good enough. They seem to want an argument, not fix the
problem. The more you try to appease them, the more aggressive
Even though you may want to please every customer, you just
can’t. It really hurts when you can’t please a customer. I’ve
been in business for 20 years and it still feels like a kick in
the gut when I can’t please a customer. You may get 100 “what a
great job you are doing” from customers, but that one complaint
stays with you. Hopefully, you’re tougher than I am and will be
able to deal with complaints without the emotional trauma.
Few customers understand what a business owner goes through to
build his business: the problems that have to be dealt with; the
vendors that give you headaches and always the shortage of money.
The last thing you want to do is screw-up an order or offend a
Every business owner needs a “pain in the ass” measuring stick
that tells him when the pain and aggravation out-weighs the
money. This measuring stick will be different for each business
owner based on his tolerance for bad customers and his need for
the money from that customer. You have to decide for yourself
when you’ve had enough.
So, its OK to fire customers. Just make sure you’ve thought about
it and its not just a reaction from the heat of the moment. There
is a certain peace that comes from firing a really bad customer.