Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
- - - - -

Would you want yourself as a customer?


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
22 replies to this topic

#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Eric_L

Eric_L

    Screenwriter



  • 1,991 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 02 2002

Posted December 24 2008 - 07:51 AM

I would really hope that the answer is yes... but let me go on;

This last week I had an experience which reoccurs about once every six months or so; a bad customer. It dawned on me while I was speaking to them that they most often have no idea they are a bad customer or what makes them bad.

Don't get me wrong, most people are good customers. They are a pleasure to do business with, pleasant disposition, asking questions about what is available, asking for guidance when they don't understand something, etc. Some people are even GREAT customers - they are the ones who ask for you by name, they are thoughtful, gracious and often become friends. There is nothing you wouldn't do for them because they are such fantastic people to deal with.

Sadly, there are also quite a few people who are neither of those. They are the ones who demand extra-attention yet they offer nothing in return - they gripe over cost, they are rude to you and your staff and they never appreciate or reciprocate should you go above and beyond for them. They are often the first to complain for the smallest issue. Even worst - Christmas time seems to bring them out in droves.

I've watched bad customers at retail stores. One time I had one who was so bad she treated me poorly -- and I didn't even work there - I was just shopping!! She then threatened to complain to my manager because I was rude to her! LOL! (and I've had the inverse also; I once I had a guy who was so nice I went out of my way to help him even though I was not an employee.)

When I see someone being rude to a worker I often shake my head in sympathy and then compliment the employee after they are done with the rude customer. Once or twice I've said something to the offending party with limited effect. It makes me sad that the bad customer will continue having dreary service through their future and will likely never figure out why - always blaming everyone else.

I personally am at the point in my career and business where I can promptly terminate relationships with bad customers without any regret. They don't like it - but I have decided that I only want to work for people whom I like. One offense and I cann them. Mutual respect is mandatory for my expertise - money is only part of the transaction. It has probably cost me money, but I suspect it also has made me money since I am able to serve the customers I like so much better without any rude distractions. It certainly has made my job more pleasant.

The worst thing anyone ever did was create and propagate the statement "The customer is always right" - what the author really meant was "The money is always right" - Once stripped naked, is not nearly so palatable of a statement yet the meaning is the same.

Just as a business has a sign at the door about shirts shoes and service they should also have a sign about respecting the employees in their workplace. No manager should ever hesitate to eject a customer who acts inappropriately. In fact - if it happened more often then I suspect bad customers might figure out their issues and work through them... The world would be a better place for everyone.

There are things I do to try to assure I fall into the 'good customer' status;

1) I always use first names when I can see them or know them.
2) I try to make operators/employees smile as soon as they introduce themselves. Either with a compliment or some humor. You never know how much of a jerk the person before you may have been. A smile is a free gift and often very appreciated.
3) If I am not going to be spending money that day I am absolutely clear with them about why I am there. I explain I don't mind if they help someone else.
4) If I am experiencing a problem I explain to them what it is. If I can't mask the frustration in my voice I also explain and apologize that I am not angry with them - but I am frustrated and don't know what to do to fix it , then I ask them for help.
5) If I get a lame employee I don't chastise them, I nicely ask for someone else. If they ask why I will say something to the effect of "It's not you, it's me".
6) I NEVER attempt to impress employees with how much more I know about their subject than they do - even if I THINK I do....
7) If I feel myself getting too agitated I make a joke. If I must I leave.
8) I will apologize even if I don't need to; for interrupting them, taking their time, or whatever. It almost always buys me extra attention.
9) The words Please and Thank You are still relevant today.
10) If someone does an especially great job I compliment them. If it is superfantastic great then I also compliment their boss for having such a fine employee..
11) If they 'step in it" or say something stupid - I give them a pass. It happens to everyone. I sometimes even acknowledge it by saying something to the effect of "Ha - it is comforting when someone else steps in it because then I don't feel like I'm so alone when I do it!".
12) Eyes on the face... not the cleavage... the face.. not the cleavage... CONCENTRATE!!!!!!!!! hehe. No, really.

How about you - what are your secrets to being a good customer? Or maybe you just figured out you're not? If so what remedial steps will you take? Do you have any anecdotes you'd like to share? What about GREAT customers? We all know them. From the lady who sends you Christmas cookies every year to the guy who you just can't wait to see in your business. (Notice how the size of their transactions does not qualify a customer as 'great'... or even 'good') What sorts of things have made them GREAT customers and what 'perks' has it earned them?

Please share...

#2 of 23 OFFLINE   Bryan X

Bryan X

    Producer



  • 3,469 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 10 2003

Posted December 24 2008 - 08:11 AM

That's just absolutely ridiculous. How am I not suppose to look at the cleavage?







Posted Image

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   gene c

gene c

    Producer



  • 5,734 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 05 2003
  • Real Name:Gene
  • LocationBay area, Ca

Posted December 24 2008 - 08:34 AM

Quote:
This last week I had an experience which reoccurs about once every six months or so; a bad customer.
Every six months!! What in the world are you complaining about. I used to fill vending machines for a living. Do I need to say more?
Quote:
12) Eyes on the face... not the cleavage... the face.. not the cleavage... CONCENTRATE!!!!!!!!! hehe. No, really.
Quote:
That's just absolutely ridiculous. How am I not suppose to look at the cleavage? Posted Image
I agree. If they're put on display, I look. Or to put it another way, "when I'm poked, I peek!"

And yes, I do consider myself to be a good customer, but I bet everyone does. Including those who may not be. It's really very easy. The first thing I do when I enter a room, walk by someone on the street or approach a cash register, is smile. Then treat people the way I would expect to be treated. That's all it takes.
"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#4 of 23 ONLINE   Dennis Nicholls

Dennis Nicholls

    Lead Actor



  • 7,873 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 05 1998
  • Real Name:Dennis
  • LocationBoise, ID

Posted December 24 2008 - 09:51 AM

I'm probably a bad customer, but for another reason. I'm very cheap and picky. I don't really want to talk to salesmen: I've already researched most purchases and merely wish to quibble about price.

But I am polite.

In the past few months I've held up two banks for several thousand dollars.

Let me explain myself. I had a roughly $100K CD at Bank A on its maturity date. I went into the bank and asked them what kind of interest rate they could give me for renewing the CD. When they talked about a 3.25% APY, I said that I then wanted to close my account and take the balance with me - please make the cashier's check payable to me. The employee asked me what I was going to do with the money, so I showed her a WaMu flyer advertising a 5% APY CD. So she and the other managers huddled and came back with an offer to MATCH that rate. So I took it.

A few weeks later I went down to Bank B and pulled the same stunt. Same result. Posted Image

Was that being a bad customer? Posted Image I was always polite and smiling.
Feline videophiles Condoleezza and Dukie.


#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Bryan X

Bryan X

    Producer



  • 3,469 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 10 2003

Posted December 24 2008 - 10:04 AM

You left out the important information, Dennis. Was there any good cleavage?

#6 of 23 OFFLINE   BrianW

BrianW

    Screenwriter



  • 2,553 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 30 1999

Posted December 24 2008 - 10:05 AM

Yeah, basic Golden Rule type stuff. I don't know why some find it so difficult.
-Brian
Come, Rubidia. Let's blow this epoch.

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Eric_L

Eric_L

    Screenwriter



  • 1,991 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 02 2002

Posted December 24 2008 - 01:51 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
...The employee asked me what I was going to do with the money, so I showed her a WaMu flyer advertising a 5% APY CD. So she and the other managers huddled and came back with an offer to MATCH that rate. So I took it.

A few weeks later I went down to Bank B and pulled the same stunt. Same result. Posted Image

Was that being a bad customer? Posted Image I was always polite and smiling.

I wouldn't consider that bad. Not unless you called them names, threatened to close all of your other accounts, implied you'd tell your friends they are incompetent and then demanded the proceeds in dollar bills instead of a check..... with even serial numbers.... all two weeks AFTER the grace period on the maturity expired.

question: now that they have been able to get you an exception to their rates are you going to reciprocate in some manner? Buy other products or add to your accounts? That is where you cross over from just a customer to a good customer.

Great customers are much more difficult to become. Few people are great customers and I doubt anyone is a great customer to everyone they deal with. Great customers are the ones who remember your name and always ask about your family - remembering the most recent current events. They bring in their friends and families to do business with you. Most important - when you are not able to match a competitors price they value the service you provide enough to give you the business anyway - so long as the price is still fair. (Of course - great customers tend to occur only to great employees... that whole karma thing)


Oh - and did you say WAMU????? Ack! Isn't that sorta like asking a perfectly health person to pay the same for one of your kidneys as someone with kidney failure is offering?

#8 of 23 OFFLINE   Bryan^H

Bryan^H

    Screenwriter



  • 2,733 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 2005

Posted December 24 2008 - 05:07 PM

I'm so glad I'm out of retail.

The last bad customer I had literally cemented my decision to get out of retail.
I was very polite and helpful, and this guy was being an asshole above, and beyond. He must have been in a fight with his wife, because she kept trying to intervene, and be respectful for his insane actions(he was practically yelling at me). He'd asked a question, and I answered very nicely. he paused, and said in a very angry loud voice "You Obviously don't know what the hell your talking about" I said "sir, I know what I'm talking about. I've worked in this department for over 10 years".
He yelled
"Get out of my face...NOW!!!"

I said Ok, and left them. This guy seriously wanted to kill me. His face was bright red, and he really really shaky.
As I've always said the better you treat angry customers, the worse they will treat you. I hope he had an aneurism, and his head exploded.

housekeeping 2.jpg

"She always does that, she just wanders away"

 

 

 


#9 of 23 OFFLINE   RickER

RickER

    Producer



  • 5,130 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 04 2003
  • Real Name:Rick
  • LocationTulsa, Oklahoma

Posted December 25 2008 - 02:14 AM

You wanna know how bad people can treat you...work in the medical field.

But yes, treat others as you would want to be treated. I am a damn good guy until someone tries to shaft me, and hang me out to dry.

#10 of 23 OFFLINE   drobbins

drobbins

    Screenwriter



  • 1,870 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 02 2004

Posted December 25 2008 - 08:49 AM

I would think that I am basically a good customer. I know what I want, go get it, pay for it and leave.

Now if the salesperson treats me as that I should be privileged to be shopping there, then things change. If I am spending my money, I do expect a reasonable amount of service.

If they try to sell me something that I didn't ask for, or told them specifically that I don't want, then the sarcasm starts.

#11 of 23 OFFLINE   Scott_J

Scott_J

    Screenwriter



  • 2,635 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 17 2000

Posted December 25 2008 - 08:54 AM

I consider myself to be a good customer. Having been a supermarket/CVS cashier back in high school and college, I know what customers used to do that pissed me off. So I don't do that stuff when I'm at a store.

#12 of 23 OFFLINE   Will_B

Will_B

    Producer



  • 4,733 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 06 2001

Posted December 25 2008 - 02:21 PM

Customers Suck Blog
Posted Image
"Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they originally predicted." -Krysta Now

#13 of 23 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

Greg_S_H

    Executive Producer



  • 14,896 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2001
  • Real Name:Greg
  • LocationNorth Texas

Posted December 25 2008 - 02:36 PM

I try to be a pleasant customer. I don't do the first name thing, though. If I go in a lot and see the same clerk, maybe. But, this just always seemed condescending (maybe it's not):

"Can I help you?"

"Yes, ah . . . " (theatrically bends down to look at the name tag) "Mary."

#14 of 23 OFFLINE   TravisR

TravisR

    Studio Mogul



  • 22,316 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 15 2004
  • LocationThe basement of the FBI building

Posted December 25 2008 - 03:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_J
I consider myself to be a good customer. Having been a supermarket/CVS cashier back in high school and college, I know what customers used to do that pissed me off. So I don't do that stuff when I'm at a store.
Same here. Except you can change "supermarket/CVS cashier" to "video store employee".

I try to be a golden rule type of guy. I wouldn't want someone acting like a creep if I was waiting on them so I try to avoid doing that to people waiting on me.

#15 of 23 OFFLINE   DaveF

DaveF

    Executive Producer



  • 14,291 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2001
  • Real Name:David Fischer
  • LocationOne Loudoun, Ashburn, VA

Posted December 25 2008 - 05:09 PM

I'd say if anything, I'm too nice. I don't push back hard enough when he vendor I'm dealing with screws up.

I can think of a few examples, but one that comes to mind is my bank. They're generally fine, but they've made several significant mistakes. A larger one, a few years ago, was to counsel me to change my account configuration, noting it was a transparent process. They were dead wrong. It broke my direct withdrawal system and caused me to miss a mortgage payment, and made me scramble to find out what went wrong and get it fixed. They've made a few other bothersome errors since then.

But I stay with them because it's such a nuisance to change banks. Nor did I lean on them and ask how they were going to demonstrate above and beyond that they wanted to keep me as a customer.

#16 of 23 OFFLINE   Eric_L

Eric_L

    Screenwriter



  • 1,991 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 02 2002

Posted December 26 2008 - 01:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickER
You wanna know how bad people can treat you...work in the medical field.
My Wife is an RN - I know exactly what you mean. Worse - hospitals have bought 'all-in' to that whole "customer is never wrong" mentality. Just as bad - Doctors with the 'God Complex'... At least they have an excuse...
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickER

...But yes, treat others as you would want to be treated. I am a damn good guy until someone tries to shaft me, and hang me out to dry.
This statement troubles me. Aside from the rare exception most salespeople are not out to get you. Sometimes they can make errors - we all do. I can't tell you how many times I've had an ignorant customer accuse me of trying to 'shaft' him when the real issue was their own ignorance. I think it is smarter to graciously terminate the transaction with the 'offending' party than to exercise vindication for their gall to "shaft" you. You could even politely ask for details such as "I don't understand why you would suggest that. As I understand it there are problems with it such as____. Can you explain why you feel differently?" I've done this and sometimes been surprised what I learned. I've also had the opportunity to educate others. At the worse I get to have a pleasant conversation instead of getting all worked up.

I have to share a specific example - but I have to keep things vague enough for professional reasons: I had a friend of a customer call me once to say:

her: "Why would you recommend product A to my friend? Everyone knows that product A is really really BAD."

me: "Well, what do you know about how your friend plans to use product A?"

her: "That is not important. You tell me - how much is the commission you get for product A over something else - like product B?

me: "The commission is higher for product A, but not the highest I could offer. I find it offensive that you would suggest I consider the commission more so than the need of the customer. I can assure you that neither commission will change my standard of living."

her: "Well, I think you should not be challenging me. I am a knowledgeable professional. Product A will destroy her ability to (perform a task regarding that profession)."

me: "Um, no, it won't. You are confusing product A with product Z. Do you know the difference between product A and product Z? I would be happy to assist you if you don't. I'm certain it would be helpful (In fact it is NECESSARY for her profession) to understand this."

her: "No - I already know enough. All product A are bad."

She had said quite a bit which I've not shared (to save space and time) which demonstrated she had massive gaps in her knowledge relating to not only the products but how they relate to her profession. (Let us just say they play a major role) She also refused my offers to assist her in learning. (I've taught scores of professionals on this topic) That was pretty much the end of the conversation. This person made a total ass out of herself. I have pretty thick skin and usually don't mind - but I was quite troubled by her ignorance about her own profession - which she was charging her friend (my customer) to perform. What this professional didn't know was that her 'friend' had been referred to me by another dear friend who is a member of my family. Had this professional not demonstrated ignorance about her own business I would have let it go - but I could not have her performing harmful activity so I encouraged my customer to get a second opinion and she subsequently fired her.

Karma.

#17 of 23 OFFLINE   Eric_L

Eric_L

    Screenwriter



  • 1,991 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 02 2002

Posted December 26 2008 - 01:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF
I'd say if anything, I'm too nice. I don't push back hard enough when he vendor I'm dealing with screws up.

I can think of a few examples, but one that comes to mind is my bank. They're generally fine, but they've made several significant mistakes. A larger one, a few years ago, was to counsel me to change my account configuration, noting it was a transparent process. They were dead wrong. It broke my direct withdrawal system and caused me to miss a mortgage payment, and made me scramble to find out what went wrong and get it fixed. They've made a few other bothersome errors since then.

But I stay with them because it's such a nuisance to change banks. Nor did I lean on them and ask how they were going to demonstrate above and beyond that they wanted to keep me as a customer.

That's too bad. Sounds like a bummer employee. I would say the best thing you could do is fish for a stronger employee at that bank and establish a relationship with them. Call them whenever you have a need or a problem - or a purchase. The tricky part is finding someone who is excellent.

I've had customers whom I would bend over backwards for get shoddy treatment from other employees. I'm always bent both because they got poor treatment and because they didn't seek me out to deal with it for them. I'd rather clean the mess myself - as an insider I can probably fix it in one-tenth the time and effort my customers would.

If you could make a high quality contact at your bank they would also be more likely to give you some sort of reconciliation for your inconvenience.

Good luck fishing....

#18 of 23 OFFLINE   RickER

RickER

    Producer



  • 5,130 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 04 2003
  • Real Name:Rick
  • LocationTulsa, Oklahoma

Posted December 26 2008 - 02:34 AM

Eric, i know exactly what you mean, but what i mean by, i am a good guy until someone tries to shaft me...i dont go crazy nuts, and personal on someone. But if i buy one thing, and i get something else, and they try to tell me its what i wanted.
No, i know what i want.
Once i bought some car speakers, and had them installed.
They were cheap speakers, for a cheap car.
Well, it took 4 hours for the guy to install them. Even though he said it would be no problem, it must of been a problem.
Cause as he came back after the install, he said thats the last time i spend 4 hours on a f***in $200 dollar pair of speakers, for a s**t car.
I asked to talk to the store manager. I told him what i heard, and the employee denied it.
I told both men it didnt matter what it cost, you sold them, you said it could be done, and your man has a job to do, he gets paid. But the biggie, i was the one who sat here for 4 hours and didnt utter a peep. I knew he was working, and that i was getting my service. It wasnt his place to say in my ear shot that he wasnt gonna work on cheap speakers in a cheap car again.
I dont think i got any satisfaction that day, but the place went out of business less than a year later.
I never make it personal, but i stand my ground.
It is rare, and i know its even more rare that someone is really out to shaft you, but it happens.
Yea, you do have to pick your battles.
My ex mother in law would bitch to the staff if she didnt get enough french fries in her McDonalds meal.
OK, go tell em, and good luck!

#19 of 23 OFFLINE   DaveF

DaveF

    Executive Producer



  • 14,291 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2001
  • Real Name:David Fischer
  • LocationOne Loudoun, Ashburn, VA

Posted December 26 2008 - 03:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_L
That's too bad. Sounds like a bummer employee. I would say the best thing you could do is fish for a stronger employee at that bank and establish a relationship with them. Call them whenever you have a need or a problem - or a purchase. The tricky part is finding someone who is excellent
It was a specific bad piece of information from one employee, but when a minor lapse causes a person to miss a mortgage payment, well, it's a bit alarming. That was years ago. But I've experienced a few other gaps on services. Nothing killer -- and the credit union has good rates and a good online service -- but if it wasn't for the "lock in" of having to change direct deposit, mortgage, bill payments, etc. I'd change banks.

But for all the horrible customers, I suspect there are an equal or greater number that are too nice, not pushing their vendors hard enough to get it right.

I learned a valuable lesson recently when I paid a contractor for home repair work without fully inspecting the work done. I found the job was done sloppily; I should have not paid them until the mess was cleaned up. Six weeks later, the fixes uncorrected, the contractor went out of business. I'll be more hard-nosed, politely so, in the future with contractors.

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Jason44

Jason44

    Agent



  • 35 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 20 2008

Posted December 26 2008 - 04:59 AM

Very nice thread, maybe this will make some people realize they are bad customers you never know haha.

-Jason Posted Image


Back to After Hours Lounge



Forum Nav Content I Follow