Mistake # 63: Don’t fire some bad customers

When do you ask a customer to take their business elsewhere? When do you finally draw the line when a customer sucks you dry of your time, and your employees, but the results do not pay off?


A customer emails and wants X, Y, and Z. I had questions, so I picked up the phone and left the customer a voice mail. I also sent an email following the voice mail, reiterating my questions. Five minutes later, I get an email back. No phone call, but an email with the answers.


The customer wanted a sample layout (I don’t want to go into too many details here and not reveal my employer), but instead of fulfilling the order, the customer wanted to ‘see’ the order prior to signing off on the order. It’s not something that I ordinarily authorize, but went ahead and did it.


Lots of back and forth (via email because she was not returning any of my five voice mails), lots of “No! I said I won’t sign anything until I decide if I am ordering or not!”


The result?  The customer sends back—well she blasts—an email to basically all sales reps in the company, myself, and the president indicating that she didn’t get what she asked for. There wasn’t a file layout in her sample and, besides all of that, we took too long.


Looking inside what we sent to her, there was a file layout. She didn’t look. My assistant called her (since I was traveling and did not want to leave a voice mail with flight announcements in the background). She said she didn’t see the file layout and decided to go with the competitor anyway.  This is even after I offered a 30% discount on top of all of that.


So, after at least eight hours of three persons’ time, the customer decides to go somewhere else. That’s fine with me!!



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