There are a million and one reasons why you should fire that bad customer! In my last post Top 3 Signs: When to tell the customer, You’re fired! I explained when you should get rid of that customer. There are very real consequences when you don’t! It can do major damage to your business. On the flip side of that coin what happens when you do get rid of that customer? What are the consequences then?
Example 1: When I worked at Big Car Company
When I worked for Big Car Company, they took a very strong ‘customer is always right’ stance. They strongly felt that impacted the bottom line of their business. Just say yes. As far as they were concerned, they were paying customers, so they were going to get what they wanted…to the harm of their employees. This stance isn’t entirely wrong, but it needs to be within reason. At one of my branches a couple customers threatened to kill me and my assistant manager. Because they didn’t like their car. My boss not only leased to him, he gave them a discount! If that doesn’t make you feel appreciated, I don’t know what does 🙁 The money was the first concern, not the welfare of his employees.
This may have worked in the short term, but it was a long term mess. A. The ROI on that customer was very low, in fact the branch I worked at lost money in the unnecessary discount they gave to the customers. If a customer is dishonest, and only looking to get a discount, you are not going to receive legitimate profitable business from them. They will likely not give you good, honest, and profitable referrals either.B. Most importantly, it causes discord with your employees, which can have a destructive domino effect.It can lead to not only your employees leaving, but good customers too. This could effect the reputation of your business.
What happened with this company: They currently have a 65% turnover rate. When I worked there (thankfully I was able to get out!) many of the employees were both unhappy and apathetic. They were anxiously looking for a new job. (As was I). Very few were looking to advance, they were just trying to get out. Customers viewed the branches very negatively, and gave low service scores. Other companies told their customers not to buy our products. They told them not to do business with Big Car Company.
*******side notes: These are my experiences, Big Car Company is…very big! Each branch is run differently in each state. I worked at one good branch, and two bad. One of my best bosses was from good branch. Out of the five bosses I had over that time, only one was good.
Well, Big Car Company is an excellent bad example. There is a lot to be learned from a bad example.
On the other side of that coin, there’s a lot to learn from a good example too:
Example 2: When I worked for Property Management Company:
When I began working in property management, my first building was a lease up. I was the marketing coordinator then manager. My job was to lease up the new building we had going up. Since it was marketing I really enjoyed the work involved. However, my clientele was very temperamental. The building is known throughout the company as a “tough building”. The residents were difficult to work with, the owner micromanaged, and there was a nun working there that was creating a hostile work environment.
The police were called frequently for various domestic issues, and sadly so was Child Protective Services. We had residents who really could not live independently, who were because the family couldn’t (or just wouldn’t) afford assisted living for them. While I was working at my third building, I learned that one of the residents I helped move in took her life.
I worked at a total of three buildings when I was with Property Management Company. My second building was docile and quiet, not perfect but enjoyable. My third one was a larger building with more units, and more responsibility. It was also a senior building in a rougher part of town, and it had many financial and legal issues. I needed to not only clean house like crazy, but clean up the accounts (that were messed up due to a former manager taking illegal liberties with rent checks.) I needed to market and get the building filled. All this with a very small budget, since the last manager did not manage the budget well.
So, why did I stick around?
Well, it was management. They had my back. They believed me first over the residents. Partly because I always had a paper trail for everything! This made everyone’s job easier too 🙂 They were not afraid to “fire” a resident via non renewal, or breaking of the lease. This was not taken lightly, and all angles were explored. But if that is what needed to be done, it was done. No job is perfect, but the culture was supportive, we were all in this together 🙂
What happened with this company: Well, for starters, the nun was fired! Property Management company has grown! They have been taking on more buildings that work well with their portfolio. There has been a lot of internal advancement, and many of the property managers have been there for several years. The job is very difficult, dealing with the residents so there is still a turnover. But, its usually because dealing with the residents can be very challenging.
These are a couple of my personal examples of what happens when you do, and don’t fire bad customers. What are yours? I would love to hear them!