When do you know that it is time, and how do you handle ‘firing’ a customer?

Real-Issues-Real-Answers-Firing-CustomersThey go by many names (Customer from Hell, Harley Hemorrhoid, Time Bandit, are three suggested by LBM Journal readers), but the footprint they leave on our companies is always the same. Whether they’re verbally abusive to your team, seriously delinquent on their account, or milking your team of time and expertise then buying from your competition, at the end of the day, they’re more trouble than they’re worth. This month, hundreds of readers weigh in on how they handle…Firing Customers

The Issue
With more than 600 responses to our survey, there’s no question that this month’s Real Issue touched a nerve. This month’s survey was based on this excellent suggestion from an East Coast based dealer, who wrote: “No one likes to walk away from a sale, but with some customers it is a one-way street, and they are more demanding and unreasonable than you want to deal with. When do you know that it is time, and how do you handle ‘firing’ a customer?”

As always, we reached out to readers who’ve opted in to receive our email communications with a brief survey. A big thank you to those of you who took time to share your insights, and your experiences, with this all-too-real scenario.

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First, we wanted to learn exactly how many of our readers have actually “fired” customers. With more than 86% confirming that they have made the conscious choice to walk away from a customer, this problem is clearly worth exploring.

Question 1
Have you ever “fired” a customer? In other words—made the conscious choice to not sell to them?
Poll Results:firing-customers (Pie Chart)

“Only in extreme cases when Harley Hemorrhoid gets way out of line with our yard personnel.”

“My father taught me many lessons, including: Sometimes the best order is the one you didn’t get. A ‘bad’ customer/order saps your ability to provide the kind of service your best customers deserve. ‘Bad’ customers demoralize staff and detract from the orderly flow of business.”