We’ve all experienced exceptionally rough customers. When a customer is continually abusive or really high-maintenance, most teams look at some sort of way to drop that person as a customer.
Is it ever okay to fire a customer?
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Under the right circumstances, it’s absolutely worth while to fire a customer. Our team was hearing repeatedly from a woman who was unhappy with our product and incredibly rude to any phone support she worked with. If you reach a point with a person where they will never be happy with the product, it’s smart to let them go. In this case, it made our support reps feel validated and cared for to know that negative treatment like that wouldn’t be tolerated and the customer was happier in the end with a new product. We gave her a free month of support and usage of our system to give her time to find a new system and were happy to help with any info transfer she needed. Putting the needs of the customer first sometimes means pushing them towards a different product.
Absolutely, it’s ok to fire a customer. Seth Godin has a dynamite post about this.
Because if you want everybody to like you, nobody does
The firing might rival that of a middle school breakup, but hey, let it happen.
The hours and resources it will take to change a users opinion and calm them down isn’t worth it to us due to the adverse effect the long-drawn-out conversation has on our team mentality. In the early days of RK Support, we spent a lot of time working with angry users to explain bugs and offer extended assistance until the issue was resolved, to which we were lucky to receive a mere, “thanks.” Catering to abusive users in a way condone’s their behavior, which is bad for all future support interactions with RunKeeper or elsewhere. We found the constant harassment on the end-user’s side would take a huge toll on our support agents. There’s only so much sass and name-calling one agent can take. Actually instead of “agent” I should be saying “person.” It seems a lot of the time users forget we are people too and we do empathize with their situation. Not sure what’s up with that, so we beat on.