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posted by martyb on Saturday February 15 2020, @07:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the the-pecking-order-stops-here dept.

Modern Machine Shop ran an interesting piece recently under the title, "Why Is It Okay to Fire a Customer?" Here are a few clippings for your interest:

We work overtime to meet the demands of our customers and rightly so. Our success depends on our reputation and repeat business. So much so that going the extra mile in communication and delivery has effectively become the new baseline for good customer service for successful businesses.

This is all well and good. I'm proud of our industry's efforts to elevate the standard through innovation and technology, and it's working. Even so, elevated standards mean bigger risks for customers and suppliers alike, making the century-old saying of "the customer is always right" somewhat of an overstatement. What was once sealed with a handshake is now enforced by contracts and documents written to protect all involved parties.

[...] In my 26 years of leading Pioneer Service [CNC machine shop], I've had the unfortunate but necessary task of firing exactly two customers. The common thread between them was a deal-breaking level of disrespect. They directed accusatory and demeaning language to multiple members of my team, and they were unapologetic repeat offenders. Firing them [customers] was considered only after taking every reasonable measure (and perhaps a few less reasonable ones) to make them happy.

Thankfully, this is an extreme minority of customers. I will never enjoy firing anyone, employee or customer, but I have yet to regret standing up for a member of my team.

[...] Just before firing one of the two offending customers, I approached the employee who had been that customer's favorite target. I'll call him Dave. My goal was simply to reassure Dave that he'd done nothing wrong. Dave was shocked, didn't want me to fire the customer and tried to dismiss the rude behavior. My explanation to him was the same phrase I say to all of my employees: "You've got my back; I've got your back.

Anyone work for a boss/owner like this?


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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @09:35AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @09:35AM (#958455)

    Working onsite as an IT contractor, the customer giving us abuse was expected, and my employer threw us under the bus as standard operating procedure. It's part of the onsite contractor business model! In a particularly egregious case of customer abuse, I had to fire my EMPLOYER. Some employers just don't give a shit about high employee turnover.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Saturday February 15 2020, @03:22PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Saturday February 15 2020, @03:22PM (#958520) Journal

    Oh yeah, I've fired bosses. Often enough, the very term "boss" gets the particular human in that role thinking the wrong way about things. Start lording it, making the relationship more of a master and slave relationship, get very disrespectful and accusatory, and, of course gaslight and lie, and for what? Some persist in believing the sophistry that slaves are more productive, and keep seeking ways to make the employee more dependent, stuff such as pushing employees to take on lots of debt. One of my bosses said to me that 1) he was close to firing me, for not working harder and for being pushy and insubordinate, 2) he noticed I hadn't bought a new car and that was bad because it meant I was more able to walk, and 3) did he need to have all the passwords changed so I couldn't sabotage the company? I was getting things accomplished, and this bozo not only wants more, but wants it in a particular way with me effectively chained to my desk, and then throws out those gratuitous assaults on my ethics when I had done absolutely nothing to justify even the whiff of such suspicions. I know very well how touchy and paranoid people are about the possibility being pwned by the genius hacker dude, and so I say as far away as possible from that sort of thing. I don't install personal backdoors, crack passwords, hack in, or anything else of that sort. I don't want to be even a white hat. Sadly, that's not enough to allay all suspicion. Because you *could* do it, they persist in suspecting that one day, you might. I quit the next day.

    The worst situation I've been in was one in which the customer should have been if not fired, at least reined in. Instead, our management couldn't find the guts to say "no" to anything, and bent over backwards and kept on bending, twisting themselves into pretzels. That's one of the troubles with having just one big customer. Management threw their own integrity and reputation under the bus, claiming to be able to do everything the customer wanted in even less time than the customer's own crazy fantasy schedule allotted, when they knew very well it couldn't be done. Then, they hoped that the customer's people, stupid as they were, were even more stupid than that and would not realize they were being snowed. The customer was unreasonably demanding, yes, but quite justified in being upset at being sold a bill of goods. Next, management blamed the peons and fired the lot in a vain attempt to appease the customer, who nevertheless cancelled the contract. They viewed the underlings with considerable contempt, for not being able to meet the expectations that had been set despite knowing the expectations were pie-in-the-sky. They were further disgusted that the underlings were not more willing or skilled at playing along with the charade they'd been running.