How many times have you heard the expression “The customer is always right”?
I know it’s been drilled into my head since I was a little girl, both as what my expectations should be as a customer, and how I should also treat clients.
But you know what – It’s absolutely NOT true.
Sometimes The Client Is Flat Out Wrong.
Yes, when someone hires you, or buys from you, I truly do believe that the onus is on you, the vendor to provide the best service possible, to accommodate your clients, to make sure they are happy, and to go “over and above”.
Sometimes that can mean accommodating them, when they are “innocently wrong”, in other words unaware or don’t understand something, or when they just aren’t happy.
And, if you make a mistake, then I believe you need to do twice as much as they would expect to make it right.
They are the client after all, and without clients, you have no business.
However, There ARE Limits
Just because someone has their wallet open, does not mean they get to:
- Be rude to you or your team
- Not honor their agreements
- Miss a payment, or be late on payments
- Expect you to change how you do business to accommodate them
(yes they also have the right to decide how they would like to do business, and if you aren’t a fit, then they need to find someone else)
- Try to renegotiate the investment after they have committed to move forward
- Disrespect you, or call YOU unethical because they simply aren’t getting their way
- Not be honest with you
- Expect more services than agreed upon
- Expect you to be on call 24/7 for their needs.
These are fundamental boundary issues, and speak to a difficult client, and income that costs way more to earn than it’s worth. And quite frankly any of the above behaviors are completely unacceptable.
Sometimes the client may not show these behaviours until you are well into a business relationship with them, but often times most people will show their colors up front.
The moment a client shows disrespectful behaviour, I find it’s much easier to just simply walk away.
As what they are showing you, is how it will be like to work with them. If it’s difficult up front, then just imagine what it will be like further down the road.
Yes while it may hurt financially in the short term, in the long run when you respect yourself and your boundaries, you clients and potential clients will also.
Now that doesn’t mean you need to make the client wrong, or prove them wrong, it simply means there are certain behaviours you will not tolerate in your business and your life. You can simply say “this is not a fit” – refund their money and walk away.
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