If you own your own business, you and I could probably sit down and swap some crazy stories about customers who leave you shaking your head in disbelief. This week, I’ve written about five types of challenging customers and ways to respond to them in a patient, humble manner while standing firm.
The Nay Sayer. “Oh, no I could make or do that myself.” Or, “I can’t afford that, can you do it cheaper?”
– Our prices are firm but thank you for your interest.
– Our prices are firm, but check out these other options that might better fit your budget.
-Explain why your prices are what they are but without arguing or sounding defensive. For example, talk about why your products or services are unique and worth the price. For example, “I include hand painting, distressing and Eco-friendly paint with all custom orders,” or “I typically work 40 hours or more of editing into this photography package to make it special.”
The “Let’s Work Something Outer.” “Can you wait until payday for me to pay?” or “Can I do a clothing change for photo package A even though your website says it doesn’t include a change?”
-Thank you for your interest. I don’t accept holds; however, I will have more openings or products available next month and I’d love to have you as a customer next month.
-Thank you for your interest. If you’d like to do a photo change, I offer package B and would be happy to work with you.
The No Show. These customers don’t show up to pick-up their goods and/or suddenly stop responding to you, leaving you high and dry.
-Thank you for your interest in X. As you didn’t come to pick-up your item, I’ve put it back up for sale.
-Thank you for your interest; however, because you didn’t show up for your photo shoot, you will lose your nonrefundable deposit.
The Something for Nothing. This customer always wants to get something out of you for nothing, plain and simple.
-Reiterate the products you offer, especially the lowest cost option. Stand firm.
-Very simply and nicely state that you do not give away products or services for free in order to be fair to everyone.
The meanie. This customer attacks and swears at you while personally insulting you and your business in person and online. I had a customer who wanted me to give her free paint because she ran out of paint on a project and needed more. After I nicely explained our different options, including our smallest, most affordable option for paint, the customer launched into one of the most hateful messages I have ever read and proceeded to try to create a firestorm about it.
– Fall back on your business’ policies. Such as, “we don’t give away free paint as a business policy” or “I can only sell two sizes of paint per my contract.”
– If the customer becomes totally belligerent, say I’m sorry we couldn’t come to an understanding. Thank you for your interest and previous purchases.
-WALK AWAY. If you’ve nicely and simply made your business policies known, use your best judgement and prayerfully considering walking away and putting up a boundary. Ban the user from your social media outlets. You do not need to expose yourself to verbal and economic abuse. Remember that you aren’t the first and won’t be the last person to be disrespected by your fellow human beings. Be thankful that your hope is in Christ and not in how many customers you have or what other people think of you.
Without launching into stories that might embarrass previous customers, what are some coping mechanisms and strategies that you use when people disrespect you and your business?
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