Some Clients Aren’t Worth Doing Business With

In some of my customer service speeches, I joke that some customers aren’t worth doing business with. The way I position it in the speech is funny, but in reality, it’s pretty serious. Sometimes, a customer isn’t worth doing business with because they are truly a bad customer. The result could be choosing to say, “Goodbye,” and sending them to the competition. 

While there are many reasons you might end your relationship with a customer, I came up with six obvious ones to get you thinking: 

  1. Customers who repeatedly return products. This is often the result of a liberal return policy that some customers abuse. Repeated returns cost money – sometimes more than the profit from the sale.  
  2. Customers who make unwarranted complaints about service. You’ve heard the recording: “These calls are recorded for quality assurance.” Not only are recorded calls great for training, but they can also become evidence of a customer who has an unwarranted complaint about the company’s customer service – or any other situation. 
  3. Customers who demand unreasonable solutions to problems. If the customer’s demands are unreasonable and they won’t accept the solutions or compensation an employee is offering, it may be time to let them go.  
  4. Customers who take up too much time. For example, customers who repeatedly send back products, which takes up too much time and costs the company money.  
  5. Customers who are argumentative. Some customers will argue, and nothing will make them happy. When they realize you are about to “fire” them as a customer, they sometimes recognize that they are being unreasonable. But, when they don’t, it’s time to consider saying, “Goodbye.” 
  6. Customers who are abusive toward employees. This is more than an argumentative customer – it is taking rude and argumentative to another level. The customer curses, insults or threatens the employee. While we always want to be polite to our customers, sometimes it’s okay to politely transfer them to a manager or, if empowered to do so, politely say goodbye and hang up. 

Keep in mind that it’s our job to take a negative event or abusive customer and turn the situation around. Another way of saying it is to turn rants into raves. Yet, in some cases – hopefully very few – the customer may truly not be worth doing business with … today. That could change in the future. Keep that in mind. Remember one of my favorite sayings: 

The customer is not always right, but they are always the customer. 

Consider that saying before slamming the door on an abusive customer. If you feel it can’t be worked out – today – close the door quietly, but consider leaving it open, ever-so-slightly, just in case they realize the error of their ways. Maybe they will come back, apologize, and become a great customer – one that is well worth doing business with!

Related: Change Requires Choice and Effort