When a Customer Crosses the Line
We've all had customers that can be difficult or demanding, but when is enough, enough?
2/10/2021 | Rosalie Marcus, Promo Biz Coach
What happens when a customer crosses the line? When their behavior is verbally abusive, rude, inappropriate or threatening? What do you do?
This blog is in response to a post in a Facebook group for promotional product professionals. A well respected and highly rated supplier shared an incident where a distributor threatened to pull their business and trash his company’s reputation by giving his company a poor rating in industry research systems. All because they misread a quote his company had sent and wanted the company to match a price that was ten times lower than the written quote they received. It was an outrageous request, and one that he certainly could not honor!
Reading about that incident, brought me back to a situation that happened many years ago in my distributorship. A contract decorator screamed and cursed at me when I questioned, what I believed was a less than acceptable printing job he had done on an order. Was my concern unwarranted? I didn’t think so! But, for sure his response crossed the line! Needless to say, I never did business with his company again!
We’ve all had customers that can be difficult or even demanding, but when their behavior becomes abusive, I believe you need to have boundaries in place that when crossed you refuse to tolerate.
Here are some things you can do to try and avoid this type of situation in your own business.
Train your staff as to what is acceptable behavior, and let them know you stand behind them if a customer crosses the line.
Put everything in writing. Have a paper trail as to what was communicated.
Request pre-production digital or product proofs on all first-time orders and have the customer sign off them.
Try to remain calm at all times, and let the customer vent if need be, but end the conversation when they become abusive, threatening or inappropriate.
If you’ve made a mistake, and we all do sometimes, own up to it and try and find a solution that is satisfactory to all.
The bottom line, we’re all in this together. Suppliers and distributors are partners in each other’s success. Civility and respect are paramount in any relationship business or personal. Above all, be willing to walk away from customers that don’t treat you or your staff with respect! There are plenty of good people out there that will!
Rosalie Marcus, The Promo Biz Coach, is a promotional products business expert, sales coach and top-rated speaker. Combining her skills and years of experience in promotional sales, she helps her clients sell more at higher margins to better clients. Get FREE up-to-the-minute sales tips and a FREE On-Demand Webinar 5 Must-Know Strategies for Selling in the New Normal at her website: www.PromoBizCoach.com Reach her at Rosalie@promobizcoach.com.
Used with permission from PromoCorner