The Customer Is Always Right - Are They Really?

Is the customer always right? Usually, the answer is yes. However, there are three important exceptions to this rule. Some customers are not worth pursuing, and are best sent to your competition:

1. Customers who want something illegal, unethical, or immoral

These customers might seem appealing to a business owner going through tough times. However, the problems they can cause far outweigh any temporary benefits which they might provide. Certainly, you might be able to help such customers a few times, but once other people find out that your company breaks the rules, you will acquire a reputation which is difficult to overcome, not to mention any penalties which may be imposed against you and your business. It is much better to never have to deal with such problems in the first place. Just pass on customers who want you to go against your better judgment.

2. Customers who make life miserable

Some customers have difficulty engaging in transactions which are honest, fair exchanges of goods and services for monetary remuneration. Instead, these people may be abusive to you, your... Read more...
employees, or other customers. They may make unreasonable or excessive demands, ignore polite conventions, or otherwise clearly have issues which you should not have to put up with. When you encounter such people, it is best to wish them well, and send them off to visit your competition instead. Keep your self-respect, as well as the respect of your employees and other customers by passing on customers who are always miserable.

3. Customers who try to exploit you

Some customers will abuse your good nature, and try to take advantage of your company. They may return items which are not really defective (after they have used them), exploit other policies you have in place, attempt to steal your products or services then return them, or create other problems for you. These customers can end up costing your business far more than they bring in from additional sales. Since these customers are generally more trouble than they are worth, they are ones which your competitors should have instead.

So, when you have potential customers who violate norms, who make your life much less enjoyable, or who attempt to cheat you, you should avoid the chance to get their business, since it will only cause problems later. The sooner you rid yourself of these suspect customers, the faster you will be able to serve truly valuable customers who can benefit your business greatly.

Copyright 2010, by Marc Mays

Marc Mays is the creator of, which helps first-time small business owners obtain the critical skills needed for their small business success.