Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 3.227.208.153

Forum Moderators: buckworks

Message Too Old, No Replies

High Pressure Customer

When does a customer become "not worth it"!

     
4:50 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 29, 2001
posts:1138
votes: 42


A several weeks ago I started getting calls from this guy claiming he had bought a book from us and his book had not arrived after two weeks. I check my records and can not find his entry (by name). Now, we don't sell many of these books so tracking is easy. I get another call insisting he bought the book and wanted the book now! We repeated this pattern about six times untill I insisted on proof of purchase.

Then, I get an order with overnight shipping under a different name to his company. I ship as requested.

Phase two: He calls and says the book has a bunch of faded pages and is completely useless and wants another book. Now I'm open minded, the book may have faded pages, however we inspect all books before shipping. I put new a book in the mail as cheap as I can (six days delivery). He then calls the next day and wants the book fast and request I send the book by email (pdf format). I call and indicated we do not have the book in PDF format. He calls three or four more calls over a two day period, I call back and indicate the book is in the mail please be patient.

Today, another call yet, (him) wheres my book? (me) in the mail! should be there by tommorrow.

He says if he does not recieve book book by Friday he wants all money back. I say "sure" send both books back and proof of purchase and we will process.

Question? when does a customer become "not worth it"?

7:23 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 25, 2003
posts:37
votes: 0


I've had a lot of customers just like that. It really depends on your tolerance level. At about the time you start losing money on their business you cut them off. If his email is from a company email address and not a web portal like hotmail, check the header for his IP address. Check all his email to see if that IP changes. If it stays they same than ban his IP in your .htaccess file. I've had to do that three times in the past five five years myself. It's not something I like to do but I saved myself countless hours on the phone, on email, and in shipping charges and lost products.
8:27 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 30, 2002
posts:522
votes: 0


I can definatly relate to those customers - some are real gems and some are just jerks.

I agree - once you lose money - cut em lose and never sell to them again.

8:56 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


>>I agree - once you lose money - cut em lose and never sell to them again.

I do that to a lot of customers. I have a low tolerance for the aggro cases and have a finely tuned antennae now. I can tell even before they place the order and sometimes stop it right there (OK, that's not how most businesses work but I'm a law unto myself :))

Give him a friendly warning that you do drop and blacklist customers. Not done properly you'll send into a rage. Done properly you'd be surprised how many customers back down from unreasonable demands when they know that you can (and will) live without their business.

10:11 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:May 19, 2003
posts:3217
votes: 18


Spot on Macro. Its your business not theirs so be firm but fair.
1:05 am on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:July 18, 2002
posts:2312
votes: 42


The company I work for is medium sized, and I will honestly tell you we give little regard to problem customers. We do give some. But we have hundreds of customers to attend to every day. Someone cuts into the time we need for "good" customers. We cut them (bad customers) off. Time is money and there are many, many people who are just trying to take advantage of the system.
2:21 am on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 29, 2001
posts:1138
votes: 42


Thanks for all the replys.

When I went into business for myself, I decided I would always be fair to my customers and my business. As my sister inlaw says "profit is not a bad thing". This individual has convinced me that some people have little regard for the business person. I'll see how this rolls out, and if I still have an unreasonable aggresive customer, I'll politly tell them to go away.

Business is good and there are plenty of resonable and fair customers.

4:01 am on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 28, 2002
posts:1763
votes: 0


After decades in business I have a simple rule: give the customer what he wants. Two reasons: 1) sometimes they are right; 2) arguing will ruin your day.
--

I've read articles lately about two major retailers who are politely kissing off some problem customers. They are removing from their ad mailing lists customers who return too many products or only buy the cheapest low margin products.

Of course, these same retailers used their easy return policies and blockbuster savings to gain these customers in the first place. Kinda confusing to me!

4:22 am on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 21, 2004
posts:110
votes: 0


When they are completely disrespectful.
6:13 am on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 9, 2003
posts:210
votes: 0


You can't avoid running into problem customers, especially those who chargebacks (is that a verb?) their purchase.

In our experience, having a clearly stated refund policy helps us win our chargeback cases.

Although they don't usually buy again, so we don't have to go to the trouble of refusing a sale to these people.

5:01 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 1, 2004
posts:40
votes: 0


I also ban them with .htaccess. Recently had a guy who inquired using two different names but the same IP and email address. Smells too much like fraud to me even though we dont accept cards.

I find that the problem customers are the ones who ask too many questions and have fears about ordering from the site. Once product
is sent the emails wont stop and god forbid the item doesnt arrive in the number of days posted as average time on your site.

Refusing their business does make them go in to a rage though. I had one kid go beserk once. That was fun! Told him we reserve the right to refuse custom.

5:11 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


There was an article I saw in the Daily Telegraph a few weeks ago. It was about an "honesty survey" conducted among customers in different countries. Questions like, "if you got extra change at a till what would you do?", "would you inflate an insurance claim", "the waiter forgets to add an item to your bill - would you draw his attention to it" etc.

The British came off the worst in this survey and the Americans the most honest (among the countries surveyed). It's just my luck that I sell mainly in the UK ;)

But customers do try all kinds of cons. I'm going to collect them and make a book out of it one day. I never cease to be amazed by the ingenuity and crookedness of some of them.

Or course, I do have some absolute gems of customers as well. Otherwise I would have given up and moved on to something else.

5:29 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 15, 2001
posts:1846
votes: 68


Read the thread with interest .. it soon went from a high pressure customer who seems not to be getting his product to customers ripping off retailers.

While I dont argue that the second do not exist, I have to wonder how tight your systems are to ensure you know that the product was delivered and signed for by the customer or not.

5:45 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


Mark, his high pressure customer may actually have been trying to rip him off. (and I don't think his issue is about goods not arriving - it's about not being able to wait six days)

I've had one customer who came back after 26 months of buying his product because he couldn't get a spare part. Since it was something we don't use anymore, and we had a spare one lying around, we sent him a freebie. No charge for the part, no charge for the shipping. We were not obliged to supply this. We were just being nice guys. The box arrived with obvious shipping damage. Despite our standard shipping emails saying that customers should sign for goods as "unchecked", he didn't (so we can't make a claim with the couriers). Now, he blames us for the damage and insists we send a new one out free. When we point out that we don't have any he talks about his consumer rights and quotes from some trading standards website:
Just because you signed an acceptance document on receiving goods this doesn't mean you have signed away your right to reject them. You still have a reasonable time in which to examine them.

This, of course applies only to new goods, and not freebies. I told him (effectively) to take a hike.

Maybe there should be a government body like trading standard to fight the seller's corner. Customers can be just as crooked as some fly-by-night businesses.

[edited by: Macro at 5:50 pm (utc) on Nov. 18, 2004]

5:48 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 15, 2001
posts:1846
votes: 68


Macro good point, its a sure thing that life would be a lot simpler without customers :-)
5:50 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 28, 2002
posts:1763
votes: 0


Yep, virtually all of our customers are wonderful people. Don't focus on the other 0.1%; they WILL ruin your day.

Cranky, vociferous customers do have a place. They force you to do better. Most disgruntled customers will quietly move their business to you competitors.

We've had a few complaints from customers that brought about major improvements in our operations. Cheaper than hiring some Harvard MBA consultant.

BTW, got a few tips once from a customer who turned out to be a divisional VP of Microsoft! (he actually liked our site)

5:53 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


>>its a sure thing that life would be a lot simpler without customers

And it's not that impossible. I have a plan and I won't have to deal with customers if the plan works out. Give me a few months.

>> competitors.
Sending the awkward ones to your competitors is a good idea. :)

>>We've had a few complaints from customers
I don't have a problem with complaints. They are a good thing. It's those who try to gain an advantage over me by lying and cheating. Those I can't bear.

7:10 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 29, 2001
posts:1138
votes: 42


Mark_A,

I believe there is the possibility this individual may be trying to hassle me into giving him a free product, or something else less than honest.

I'm sure time will tell, as this book has plenty of competition. Faded pages do not make a book "unusable" and a foundation for an immediate emergency.

At this point, anyway you throw the dice, he will end up with two books for the price of one or the use of a book for several weeks free.

Can anybody say "copy machine"?

9:03 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:May 19, 2003
posts:3217
votes: 18


ingenuity and crookedness of some of them- yeah I once caught a guy stealing a bunch of dried flowers worth 1.75 about $2.

He had been boasting loudly that he and his wife own a docklands flat and a holiday home in Norfolk.

He even drove away in an expensive BMW.

Some people.

10:08 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 5, 2004
posts:25
votes: 0


I have a question from a customer's point of view.

What should I do if something honest-to-god doesn't show up at my door? What is a reasonable timeframe to wait before contacting the online store I purchased from? Where does the boundry lie between being impatient or just concerned? If they agree to resend the item, is it reasonable for me to request they use a shipper with tracking such as UPS or FedEx, if I offer to pay the additional charges?

I have no desire to ruin anyone's day, but I would like the product I paid for within a reasonable time. How do I go about *NOT* being a high pressure customer and still get my problem solved?

The reason I've asked, is because this recently happened to me. Several of my friends and I ordered something from the same site on the same day (I was first to order) and they received their items on Oct. 29.

10:51 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 29, 2001
posts:1138
votes: 42


It is not clear to me that there is ever a real need to be a high pressure customer. Professionalism, regardless of the situation works well.

When I was much younger, high pressure was often my approach when I perceived an injustice. Then I followed with a bunch of complaining to whomever would listen. I'm a lot older now and I have found that most merchants are customer oriented and a little sugar goes a lot farther than vinegar, even with an incompetent staff.

Mis-delivery is rarely on purpose or the result of a mean spirited merchant. There are a lot of reasons a purchase may show up a little late. Calling 10 times is unlikely to speed up the mail.

11:31 pm on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 30, 2002
posts:522
votes: 0


If they agree to resend the item, is it reasonable for me to request they use a shipper with tracking such as UPS or FedEx, if I offer to pay the additional charges?

This is a pet peeve of mine - If I don't offer a certain type of shipping, then don't ask me for it. I value all customers, but if i ship a 100 packages a day, I'm not going to spend an hour shipping one package because they have a weird request.

Its like asking KFC to sell you a hamburger, even you do offer to cover the costs. They probaly could do it, but the profit just doesn't justify the work.

That being said, I believe all items should be shipped with a carrier that offers some sort of tracking.

3:27 am on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:June 6, 2003
posts:395
votes: 0


We run into problem customers on a regular basis, the minute they become a pain we just return their fee and refer them to our competition ;~) Some people are just not worth the trouble, just cut them loose quick.
10:05 am on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


>>If they agree to resend the item, is it reasonable for me to request they use a shipper with tracking such as UPS or FedEx, if I offer to pay the additional charges?

You sound like the very reasonable type of chap (the type of customer I would love to have). If I got an offer like that I'd probably say, "don't worry about the additional charge, I'll FedEx it anyway". As Edge wisely puts it - being polite goes a long way.

True, sometimes staff lower down may not take appropriate action in some companies... or may not be empowered to take certain actions. In which case escalating the issue to the appropriate person would be the way to go. Calling the HR department - or the janitor - several times a day would, of course, only result in more frustration for everyone.