The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Choose Your Customers Wisely!
by Julie Weishaar
July 21, 2020
Customers Are Always Right, Aren’t They

You might be thinking, “I don’t choose my customers; they choose me.” Well, yes and no. Customers choose to spend their money with you – or not.

However, you have the right to either not take on a customer or fire one. Why would you turn down money and do that?

Because some customers are unreasonable, can never be pleased, or only care about cost and not quality.

Taking on demanding customers will only cause you headaches. Also, the time you spend trying to please them could end up costing you more money in time than the money you receive as payment.

Customers Are Always Right, Aren’t They?

NO! And you as a business owner do not HAVE to take on a customer or client who you know will cause more aggravation than is worth your time.

Yes, you do want to try and please your customers and provide the best product or service. However, there is a line that you should draw when the time it takes to deliver quality keeps getting extended to nowhere land.

There are some signs that you, as a business owner, should be aware of and try to avoid. If you see any of them, stop and think to yourself “Is it worth it”?

Weigh the signs against other interactions with the customer. Is it a one-time obnoxious behavior or a long-term pattern?

If a customer is only looking for the lowest price and trying to beat yours down, do not give in just to get the business.

Compromising the value and quality you offer will hurt your business in the long run.

You will lose money and could get the reputation of delivering sub-standard products or services.

Below are some signs that you should “Just Say No” to a potentially toxic customer. Learn from my mistakes.

Signs of Customer Toxicity

Paying attention to signs that could be indicative of future behavior can prevent you from making bad decisions.

If you see any of the following, think carefully before deciding on whether to take on that customer…or not.

Signs of Customer Toxicity

We Do Not Deal with Our Vendors That Way

Translation: “We don’t pay via PayPal; we require printed invoices sent via snail mail to our accounts payable department, and then we will issue a check.

Hmm… really? In this age of digital technology who does not accept email invoices or can’t pay digitally?

The last time I checked, when one wants to do business with a vendor or make a purchase, one needs to follow that vendor or store’s policy – not vice versa.

Consider this scenario. You go to a department store and see a shirt you love and another one that is on sale.

You tell the salesperson that you want the sale price but for another shirt. What response do you think you will get?

If you can purchase that shirt for the lower price, chances are the employee’s days will be numbered at that store.

Or how about this. You bite the bullet and decide that you will pay the full price for the shirt, but you want to pay in installments, and the store does not have payment installment plans.

Good luck with that one. Just saying…

The Check Is in The Mail

This sign refers to any payment method, including PayPal and credit cards. It is also self-explanatory, right?

You have a written contract or verbal agreement with a client that invoices are due every month on the 15th and the 30th.

Yet, on the 21st of the month, you still have not received payment. The customer tells you that they mailed the check or that they are waiting for money from one account to transfer to another account before they can pay your invoice.

If the above scenario happens once or twice, it is understandable. However, if this becomes a pattern, you have a problem.

Your agreed-upon payment procedure is not being followed. The customer is showing you that they have no regard for your time and value.

You Spend an Hour Discussing What/When/How

So, your client has an idea of what they want to do, and you take the time, using your expertise and experience helping them formulate a plan of how to implement their idea.

Your client is thrilled with the results of your consultation, leaves the conversation with a list of the information and data you need from them, and then NOTHING. You do not hear back from them.

They do not return your phone calls or your emails. Suggestion: If that same person calls you again to do another project… DON’T,

But I Did Not Use What You Did for Me

And whose fault is that? Mine? I do not think so. I did the work you were supposed to pay me for completing … I never did get that concept of “Three Strikes You Are Out!”. However, I do now.

How about you? Do you have any experience dealing with customers that cause you to fire them or not “hire” them in the first place? Inquiring minds want to know.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Choose Your Customers Wisely!

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  1. Lisa Sicard

    Hi Julie,
    I love this one! I’ve had to learn the hard way about this one. One of my first clients was over demanding and calling at all hours of the day and night to make changes. I finally had to get rid of that client. What a difference it made. Now, if I encounter any similar I run away as fast as I can. Time = money and life’s too short!
    I also find you work better when you LOVE your clients 🙂

    • Julie Weishaar

      Hi Lisa,

      How true it is, right? Sometimes we forget we have the right to say “NO” :). Stay safe and healthy!


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