At Your Service: Giving our babies up for adoption
By Russ Dantu
By Russ Dantu
Ok, before you send someone to shoot me, it’s not what you think! Sometimes in life, a parent or parents have to make the very difficult decision to give up a baby for adoption. The stress and heartache associated with this decision must be immense.
In business, sometimes we also have to give up our babies. What do I mean by that? Sometimes it’s necessary to fire our customers. I know…hard to believe I am saying that, isn’t it?
It took me many years before I fired a customer and the stress and heartache was immense. I never wanted to lose a customer, but the stress was terrible when I had them as a customer and there came a time when there was no other alternative. So who do we give up to the tender care of others?
1) Customers that complain about everything you do or supply or the condition of your product and they constantly look for a discount because of it. If your equipment is in good shape and in stock and your customer service is beyond everyday average service, then we really need to weigh the advantages of how valuable this customer is.
2) Customers with credit who consistently go way beyond the 30 to 45 days to pay. Think about how much are you losing if you have to wait 90 to 120 days for payment. Is it worth the wait or does it strain your cash flow?
3) Rush-order customers who never seem to have their ducks in a row and cause undue strain and stress on your team. They remind me of the expression, “Failure to prepare on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part.” Now, I would never post that saying anywhere, as I truly believe in delivering sudden service as often as I can, but more mistakes seem to happen when rush orders come in so I try to educate my customers so they know the normal turnaround times. But some customers can be slow learners, especially if they have repeatedly gotten away with abusing your process.
4) Customers who regularly return your equipment without cleaning it properly (if required) or with bits missing. This creates a problem for the next rental and adds more stress to your team trying to solve problems that shouldn’t happen.
5) Customers who shop your prices with competitors all the time. Do we really want customers that will jump ship to save a few dollars? We work hard for our money. As long as we are competitive with pricing on products or services and our service outshines our competition, we should be confident enough to stay away from those who try to grind us.
One caveat to this. My father used to say that we need a mixture of the small, medium and large businesses to get us through any type of depression (or pandemic). If we just chase the large contracts and we lose one, it really hurts. If we have a good mix and things get slow, the smaller customers help us through those tough times. So, before you decide to fire all your small customers, make sure you have a plan in place to survive if things get tough.
Russ Dantu is a 30-year veteran of the rental industry and has been delivering workshops, seminars and keynotes on customer service for over 15 years. Visit russdantu.com.