• Kathy Nativi

The customer is not always right

Salvadoran culture has accustomed us to a sort of condescension in which a boss cannot be contradicted, the customer is always right, and other similar situations that, in some ways, destroy us. Oh yeah, because if you think a customer is always right, you consequently think you’re always wrong and it’s not like that at all! The customer is right when they’re right and wrong when they’re wrong.


A lot of us worked in places where we had to manage customer relationships and we can tell you that the customer is not always right. Granted, the customer must be treated well, we must try to solve their problems, sometimes try to calm them down by assuring we’re gonna help them; in other words, make their priorities ours.


In most cases, showing a calm attitude to a customer that’s upset generally works. It is important to stay calm because we cannot allow other people’s emotions to interfere with our inner peace. There’s a difference between being an employee and a freelancer, in the second case you set the rules and the concept “the customer is not always right” becomes more valid.


In some cases, with some customers, there comes a time when you have to decide to take different paths, and the fact that this particular customer is a source of income for you should never be an obstacle to a decision that could improve your quality of life.


Let’s see what could be the important signs that will make you understand that the time has come to fire a customer.


1. The customer doesn’t respect you. There’s nothing worse than working with someone who disrespects you. It happened to us with a client. The services for which he had hired us were very simple and took very little time: we had to program his newsletter in MailChimp once a week and always once a week program the blog post in social networks. The client in question publishes the newsletter every Friday. He punctually sent us the newsletter on Thursday at 19:00, so we had to do all the work quickly because he wanted to revise the newsletter test. Maybe another person wouldn’t have gotten anxious to prepare the newsletter as quickly as possible, but it was already 19:00 and the newsletter had to be published by 8:00, so that made us anxious. We were worried about him and respected him, he didn't. Although we asked him to send us the newsletter by Thursday morning, we did what he wanted. Be respected: Establish clear conditions from the start and make sure they are met .


2. You’re underpaid. Sometimes it happens, especially in the beginning, to miss a quote or to clearly accept one below the rate for the services you’ll offer. We advise not to do it, not to accept conditions that, from the beginning, you think are not acceptable. But if you really insist what really counts is the experience, try to establish a maximum tolerance limit. The moment you’ve gained experience, and maybe more customers, give up those who don’t want to pay more. It’s almost a mathematical rule, those who pay less are those who stress the most.


3. The customer thinks you’re always at their service. While this point may have to do with disrespect, it is not necessarily the case. The client who thinks you’re always and only at their service simply have a distorted view of virtual assistance: they think you’re a secretary hired to take care of them only. Always set limits and make it clear that if they want you exclusively, they must pay for your time.


4. They make your life impossible. It could be because they punctually don’t respect the payment terms, etc. It is stressful. Each of us have limits of endurance and when you have exceeded yours, you will realize that working with a certain client is seriously jeopardizing your state of mind and is also reflected in other aspects of your life. Do not get to that moment, clarify or recall the conditions necessary for you to work in harmony, otherwise fire them!


5. There’s no feeling. This has also happened to us. There was nothing wrong: the communication was a bit distant but professional, the tasks were clear from the beginning. In short, it was almost all right, but there was no feeling. You’ll think “business is business”, what does the feeling have to do with it? Well, it’s got something to do with it, it’s important to work with someone we’re comfortable with, with whom we can also communicate humanly, but this is our point of view. Like sometimes happens in love relationships when it is evident that love is over, one person allows things to continue passively and the other takes the initiative to end things. Do not let things get to this point: when the time comes to end a relationship, do it!


We’d love to know what you think. Have you ever fired a customer? If so, why?


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