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Customer wants special treatment

So, Your Customer Wants Special Treatment...

We all want to give customers special treatment.  But occasionally you’ll encounter customers who, no matter how much you do for them, always want more.  Some bark orders to you like you’re their personal servant.  Some ask very sweetly.  They may be nice, but they’re still way out of line in their expectations of you and your company.

"Would you mind changing his diaper so I can try on some clothes?"

One Winning at Work subscriber who works in a retail clothing store recently wrote in with a great example of this.  Her story was about a customer who casually asked her to change her child’s diaper while she tried on some clothes.

What do you do? Are there some customers out there who are just not worth having?  Where is the line between providing Outstanding customer service and allowing customers to take advantage of us?

Make sure to manage expectations

As to the first question, the answer is yes, there are some customers who you might just be better off without. There is a whole school of thought around ‘firing’ customers who simply aren’t worth it.  But beware making a hasty, and potentially costly decision.  When you have customers who want special treatment, make sure that you first try to manage their expectations.  It is, after all, possible to say no to someone without being nasty about it.  As the old saw goes:  It’s not what you say, but how you say it.

In the case of the diaper-changing, for example, the salesperson could just smile, and say pleasantly, “No – diapers aren’t something I do, but I can watch him while you try the clothes on.” In taking this approach, she takes a firm stand on her customer’s request, while at the same time communicating her willingness to help out.

WOW experiences come from special treatment

Rather than get frustrated by demanding customers, recognize the opportunity they present.  Giving customers special treatment is a big part of creating positive word of mouth – what we refer to as “Wow” experiences.  The science tells us that more than eight out of ten Wow experiences come from a customer feeling that someone has really taken ownership over a situation.

Good luck!

“There is no amount of money you can spend on advertising that will replace a legion of happy customers”

– Shaun Belding –


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