I have a friend in New York City that owns a publicity business. Many of her customers are unreasonably demanding and expect her to make them famous for a fee. These demon customers wear out her staff (emotionally) and probably cause turnover. My advice to her over the years was to fire these unreasonable customers — they are bad for biz.
She experimented with my advice and learned that when she fired a demon customer, her staff rejoiced and her other customers got better service. She realized that you should only have customers that are grounded in reality and respect your staff.
Yesterday, in a USA TODAY article, I read that Sprint had disconnected about 1000 customers that complained excessively and made unreasonable demands. Good for them. I feel bad for call center employees, retail clerks and service techs that had to put up with those 1000 customers. No business should have to serve anyone anytime. One of the smartest things that Herb Kelleher at Southwest Airlines ever thought up is the idea that “the customer is not always right.” When he observed a customer abusing an attendant, he would ask them not to fly the airlines anymore. It was a boost to morale.
Do you have any clients that are unreasonable? Fire one of them this quarter and you’ll find out, like my friend, that your staff will rejoice your new found wisdom.
Recommended read: Angel Customers and Demon Customers by Larry Seldon and Geoffrey Colvin