'Hit the Road, Jack!' Giving Difficult Customers THE BOOT!
© 2000, by Harmony Major

Have you ever heard the adage, "the customer is always right?" Yes? Well, it doesn't apply to home business owners and entrepreneurs. No, I haven't lost my marbles. It's true. This CAN NOT apply for home-based businesses, and you'd better believe I'm going to tell you why.

NOTE: Before you go and get "boot happy," realize that this article is NOT to be followed as standard customer service procedure. It should be used with care, VERY rarely, and hardly at all. Knowing how to deal with difficult customers is imperative for quality customer service.

A small business owner simply can not afford to treat all of his or her prospective customers with the same level of service. Why? It's simple. Home business owners need to be selective, to a degree, in order to keep business running smoothly, and to satisfy the prospects that DESERVE satisfaction. You have to become the type of business owner that would rather kick a few of the "bums" to the curb and give other customers excellent service, than to try to please everybody all of the time ... which just isn't going to happen. By adopting a rule of "the customer is always right," home business owners are setting themselves up for financial suicide ... and here's why A home business is usually very small, and is ordinarily run by only ONE very dedicated person. And, no matter how much they'd like to think so, this one person can't be all things to ALL people. For this simple reason, entrepreneurs run a very high risk of spreading themselves too thin and, when this happens, business is sure to suffer. "So, how do I avoid this," you ask? It's simple, really.

  1. Target your advertising to attract the RIGHT kinds of customers. The "good" kind. ;-) Avoid using hype and never, ever, under ANY circumstances, advertise your business or service to be better than it actually is. If you advertise to people that are looking for hyped-up offers and unrealistic excitement, you're ASKING for trouble.
  2. Work only with customers that are willing to work with YOU. Sure, the customer is usually right in most cases, but no one is right ALL of the time. And, reasonable people are the ones that realize this. They're also the ones you want to work with. Have you ever had a customer that, no matter what you said, or what you proposed, they were STILL dissatisfied? Even if you agreed to do EXACTLY what they requested of you, AND MORE?? This is the kind of disgruntled, trouble-maker that's just looking for trouble, and you happened to be the gullible target.
  3. Don't stand to be treated rudely or disrespectfully. If you're a successful and professional business owner, that means that you're always willing to make amends to please your customer, and to correct any situation in which you were at fault. And, since you're the type of business owner that respects their customers, you should also receive the very same respect. If you don't and you've tried all you could to make them happy, kick that customer to the curb! They'll literally be more trouble than they're worth later on down the line.
  4. Focus 99.5% of your energy and attention on your "good" customers, and you'll always be successful. Don't fall for the old "they just want to be heard" garbage. If someone wants attention, they should act like adults and speak up! Being obnoxious to get attention is for three year olds.

If you remember and follow those four simple guidelines in your day-to-day business routine, you're sure to be one step ahead of the game. A difficult, troublesome customer can take TWENTY TIMES as much work and effort to attend to than a customer that's willing to be reasonable. And, if you're like me, you get a hundred or more emails a day. What's twenty times one hundred?? Let's just say a LOT more time than I have to spend babying rude and unprofessional customers. What about you? For anyone that challenges this way of thinking, remember that you don't have to answer to them. Let THEM have the headache of dealing with irate customers, and save yourself the trouble. NOTE: Read 'What Ever Happened to Customer Service?' to find out how to convert your worst customers into your best referral sources, at <http://ExpertOnEbiz.com/articles/service.html>. Knowing when to draw the line is imperative. Good luck!


 Harmony Major is the author of Yahoo! Secrets, where she reveals how YOU can drive HUNDREDS more visitors to your site each day, by getting a #1 listing on Yahoo. Don't just settle for "getting listed." Use her instantly-effective tactics to boost your site traffic with a TOP Yahoo listing! Visit: <http://YahooSecrets.com>


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