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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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @04:59PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @04:59PM (#958543)

    In college I worked for a car rental lot, was just me and the owner. I fired several customers when I was there with his backing. If someone shows up and acts like a jerk they will act that way the whole rental.

    Had some guy sign up for a rental for a 09 dodge caliber. Nothing special but he gets to pay 35/day instead of the 150/day he would pay anyone else for a new Camry. Guy shows up, raises a shit about it, and demands I swap him. We only had the vehicle that he knew he was getting so he demanded that I give him my personal vehicle, a '12 Camry. So I told him I would drive him to hertz or avis but that we would not rent to him. Guy was pissed naturally but at that point is not worth the rental. He would call and bitch about it every day, as most unhappy customers do, and I don't want to deal with it.

    Don't be a jerk.

  • (Score: 2) by toddestan on Saturday February 15 2020, @10:56PM

    by toddestan (4982) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 15 2020, @10:56PM (#958619)

    Seems like there's always a group of customers like this - they buy the cheapest thing to get their foot in the door then start demanding freebies, upgrades, special treatment - also things like not buy the service contract but demanding all the perks from it anyway. The sad thing is that management would give into their demands, and it seemed a fair number of these people, seeing their tactics had some success, wouldn't be happy with what they got and would just keep demanding more and more. A lot of these people ate up a significant amount of customer's service time too, always complaining about things that they got that they didn't even pay for.

    Management never seemed to want to fire these customers either. It seemed like the obvious choice given that these customers often were just purchasing the bare minimum so it's not like they were losing out on a lot of sales. They were a bit too much into the whole "the customer is always right" thing.