The Challenge of Challenging Customers

selling-to-tough-customers1When working with customers we always find ourselves immersed in a ginormous effort to please them, even if we have to play dumb we still do everything we can to make sure they are at least 100% happy.

It is more than rewarding to see a customer happy, especially when they return for more. What a fantastic feeling that is. Over time you learn how to do that and this is how I actually learned… mainly by burning, but I finally learned.

Brutally honest

Give them the hard facts, no more high expectations and probabilities. Reality might be shocking but it’s the damn truth and that will avoid issues down the road. I have to deal with pricing, delivery, product hold, discontinuance, NPI and so on… When I am asked about something like, a product release date, or steep discount I just give it as it is. Sorry but I can’t, or it won’t be released until all testing are completed and we get our god forsaking certifications to release the product for sale.

Remember, if a sales person knows about something new, they will sell it, no matter what it is, they will sell it. If they want a steep discount, I will offer something on top of it that will get them hooked on consumables. At least they will see a value added and have to come back for more.

Eliminate the noise

Like in most of things we do, not all is actually priority or generate business. Yep, if we could fraction that, perhaps 20-30% of your customers are the ones bringing you what you actually expect. But for some reason, that 70-80% left drains your life away in a way you cannot even imagine. Making customers happy is essential but focusing where the money is coming from is essential. If there is no time to deal with the background noise, get back to them later.

I recently experienced that on the flash. I ordered some items online and the product was on backorder. I got one reply explaining my order status but I was given a date – brutal honesty was not actually used here – so I actually expected to get my purchased on that date… but I became noise – not the store’s fault but they have other stuff to manage too and I understand. Hence, they updated me, but not right away…

Hasta la vista

Sometimes you are the best you can be but some customers are so toxic that they destroy the best of anything you can offer. Like pure hate, those blood suckers will give up at nothing. They want everything for free, they make demands, they blame you above your company, they don’t believe in mutual respect or healthy relationship. Like a leech, they will suck you dry and once they are full they just move away, until it is time to feed again. It is a never ending cycle and you must ask yourself: Is this worth fighting for? What are we doing here? Are you getting something out of it?

If you do not get anything out of blood suckers, then for your own health’s sake cut the cord and let them go. Some customers need the brutal honesty delivered.



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