Friday, September 25, 2009

The customer is NOT always right

Being a business owner has many ups and downs. A "down" may be a difficult customer that requires more attention than others. But is it OK to "fire" a customer?

John Chisholm, a writer for a customer relationship management website (, has some guidelines as to when a customer should be "let go". You should "fire" a customer when "the tangible and intangible costs of serving the customer outweigh the cash and any good will received from the customer.”

How do you, the business owner, "fire" a customer? Tracy Fredrychowski, a writer for a search engine optimization website (, has developed a how-to guide on axing a customer.

1. Be professional. “Customers should always be spoken to personally, not by letter or phone. Only when the customer is at a distance, is it appropriate to speak with them about the matter on the telephone. But in no circumstances should the contact be other than verbal. E-mails simply will not do in this case.”

2. Keep emotions out of it. Odds are the customer made you extremely frustrated or angry, but now is not the time to vent. Customers often will take being fired personally, “so it is important that you explain your reasons rationally and clearly.”

3. Offer suggestions. Remember after you have fired them, customers will still need someone to provide the product or perform the service you did. Help them if you can.

4. “Stay polite but firm. It is time to move on.”

Firing a customer article

As a business owner, how have you dealt with difficult customers? Have you ever given a customer "the boot"? Do you have any other suggestions on ending the relationship amicably?

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