Is It OK To Fire A Customer...?


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Or is the customer always right? That's what you've always been told. If you’re in business, you know how ridiculous that statement is. The customer isn’t always right, the customer is often wrong. Worse yet, you know it, he knows it, and he knows you know. However, that is not the reason you fire a customer.

Sometimes a confrontational attitude is just a way for a customer to save face when he knows it was his fault and not yours. There is nothing wrong with letting the customer save face. You apologize for the screw-up and tell him it will be taken care of and, sometimes, this leads to a very good relationship with that customer. Sometimes not.

There will be customers that no matter what you do, it's not right or good enough. They seem to want an argument, not fix the problem. The more you try to appease them, the more aggressive they get.

Even though you may want to please every customer, you just can't. It really hurts when you can't please a customer. I've been in business for 20 years and it still feels like a kick in the gut when I can't please a customer. You may get 100 “what a great job you are doing" from customers, but that one complaint stays with you. Hopefully, you're tougher than I am and will be able to deal with complaints without the emotional trauma.

Few customers understand what a business owner goes through to build his business: the problems that have to be dealt with; the vendors that give you headaches and always the shortage of money. The last thing you want to do is screw-up an order or offend a customer.

Every business owner needs a “pain in the ass" measuring stick that tells him when the pain and aggravation out-weighs the money. This measuring stick will be different for each business owner based on his tolerance for bad customers and his need for the money from that customer. You have to decide for yourself when you've had enough.

So, its OK to fire customers. Just make sure you've thought about it and its not just a reaction from the heat of the moment. There is a certain peace that comes from firing a really bad customer.

Michael Gravette is a highly accomplished entrepreneur. He is a mentor to other aspiring business owners alike. To find more success tips visit


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