Estimated reading time: 2 mins
A lot of people focus on the aim of getting as many customers in the business as possible and doing everything you can to keep them on-side. “The customer is always right,” they say. But that’s not always true. When your business has some space to pick and choose (and even sometimes when it doesn’t), you should be choosing only the customers that are good for you.
Are they toxic?
What does it mean when a customer is toxic? It means that they’re unpleasant, they’re unreasonable, and they think they deserve a lot more than what they do. Most of the time, this means customers that are trying to eke out every bit of value they can, asking for extras without being willing to pay for them. It’s possible to talk unreasonable customers down from their unrealistic expectations, but you have to be ready to say no to them.
Are they good for it?
Sometimes, you might be willing to take on a problematic customer for the sake of a good return. But you should never be willing to take on a customer who presents a risk to your cash flow plans. If you’re in a business that deals with credit and collecting from customers over time, then services from those like Portfolio Credit Control are essential. You have to be able to see those cash-costing risks up front. Otherwise, you could be getting into the area of using collections agencies which only means spending more money over time to try and get what you were originally owed.
Are they acting like your boss?
Pleasing customers is all well and good but you have to remember that they don’t hold any authority over you. Especially for smaller businesses and those in creative fields, you will likely encounter the customer that tries to set your price for you. Don’t allow it and make sure you have a price model set up in advance. Don’t let them act like your employees’ boss, either. You have to be willing to get in the middle of a dispute and accept that sometimes the respect of your team and their motivation to do their job takes precedence over a customer’s satisfaction.
Are they holding a gun to your head?
Some customers take it even further and assume they have power over the business during their relationship with it. If they’re threatening to take their business elsewhere, then let them. If your competitors are willing to take on such a difficult customer, then it’s only going to give them a further disadvantage. Nowadays, it’s becoming more common for problem customers to take things to social media, as well. The power of online word-of-mouth should be respected, but if you handle things professionally as shown on Salesforce, most online users are savvy enough to see whether or not the injustice of a claim is true. If they say something libelous, you can legally get it removed, as well.
Without being picky on which customers you take, you might be making the risk of getting yourself customers who try to control your business, who take too much of your time, stress you and your team out and even cost you money. It pays to be picky now and then.