Some Customers Are Worth Losing

In “A Bronx Tale” (dir. Robert De Niro), the main character, Calogero, befriends a gangster, Sonny. Calogero and Sonny are driving around one day, and Calogero spots a guy who owes Calogero some money. Before young Calogero goes running off, the old and wise, Sonny, stops him.

Turns out that the guy running away only owed Calogero a few bucks. The guy and Calogero weren’t even really good friends. Sonny tells him, “So what?” Sonny tells Calogero that he just learned that guy can’t be trusted, and it only cost him a few bucks. Greater men have lost a more to learn such a lesson.

We have all experienced a client who tried to nickel and dime us. We have all experienced customers who threatened to go to a competitor if we didn’t offer them a discount. We bend over backwards for them because we are afraid to lose them as customers. This will sound counter intuitive: lose them.

It’s one thing if you’re in the wrong in terms of providing bad service, or if you created a bad product. However, there are some cases where good customer service will work against you. There are literally “thieves” out there who do nothing but take advantage of good customer service. These kinds of customers aren’t going around spreading good things about you, and they probably aren’t repeat customer anyway.

The social media mavens will tell you that it will bite you in the butt later, but I say it’s biting you in the but now. By catering to what are basically “worthless” customers, you might actually be losing face time with worthwhile customers. So the next time you bend over backwards for a customers, ask yourself, is this a customer worth saving, or a customer worth losing?

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