Why Sometimes You Need to Fire Your Customers

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If you’ve ever worked in retail—and even if you haven’t—you’ve probably heard the phrase, “the customer is always right.” But just because you’ve heard it doesn’t make it true.

 

I understand where this idea comes from. And I’m on record saying customer service is one of the most important forms of marketing today. But we all know we can overspend a marketing budget, right?

Saying the customer is always right is even worse. It’s like saying there is no budget. You don’t need me to tell you how that can play out. There are limits to customer service.

I’m remembering one customer in particular I had to fire a few years ago. Despite a heroic effort on the part of my team, we didn’t feel as though we could make him happy. So, we made a refund and said goodbye. And the truth is that a lot of businesses could find relief in doing the same thing.

In my experience, there are three very good reasons you sometimes must fire your customers:

  1. They drain you and your team. Eventually serving customers costs your team more than they signed up for—maybe even more than you signed up for. Counter-intuitive as it might seem, for a business to succeed it’s essential to prioritize not your customers, but your team.When we get that backwards, we overburden our people with customer demands and create burnout and turnover. Suddenly, you’re hemorrhaging talent and your business suffers. Bad deal

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