Dealing With Ungrateful Customers
Some people are never happy
Occasionally you can encounter customers who just don’t seem to appreciate what you’ve done for them. You jump through hoops to get a project finished. You give them special pricing. You acquiesce to their every demand. You go the extra mile and there is no recognition for your effort. Sometimes, even after you’ve gone way above and beyond, they even have the audacity to complain. What do you do?
Do you scold them, and tell them they should be more grateful? That’s never a good strategy. Do you “fire” them, as the philosophy being hyped a few years ago would suggest? Dangerous. Do you just accept that ‘the customer is always right’ and ignore it?
Well, sort of.
The customer is not always right, but. . .
Is the customer always right? Of course not. But there’s just no getting around the fact that customers have choices – lots of them these days. If we’re not prepared to deal with their needs, there’s someone out there who will.
Are there some worth getting rid of? Yes. But it’s the unprofitable customers that are expendable – not the ungrateful ones.
Start with why
If this is happening to you, it’s worthwhile to examine why your customers appear ungrateful.
Is it Value?
Sometimes it’s because they feel they aren’t getting good value. In this case, a comparison check of your competition or similar organizations might be in order.
Is it a Lack of Appreciation?
A lot of times, customers simply just don’t realize the extent of the work you’re really doing. It’s like a black box: they ask for something, and you deliver it. They have no clue as to what goes on in between.
In these cases, it can help if you gradually and gently educate them as to some of your internal processes. Or you can begin to charge nominal fees for extras. This way, even if you waive the fees when billing time comes, the customer is aware they’ve gotten something for nothing.
Or do you not seem to care?
The most common reason (by a wide margin) that customers may appear ungrateful, however, is that they perceive that you and the people they deal with really just don’t care. A veritable mountain of research from every corner of the world points to the fact that customers will stop appreciating us when they feel we have stopped appreciating them. That’s where a focus on customer service, and customer service training pays off.