Can I have another go with the glove, please?
We know there have been attempts over the years to turn this nightmare topic into something we’re supposed to be excited about.
Yes, we are supposed to wow them, exceed their expectations, and on occasion, give them the same kind of outcome that sometimes happens during aggressive prostate exams.
But we know that customer service really means dealing with 3 kinds of people:
- Garden-variety lunatics
- Dangerously crazy people
So it is number 3 that I am most interested in, since it is the largest category, and the one most threatening to your enterprise.
I am talking about the late payers, the disruptors, the serial refunders, the bad review extortionists and the freebie seekers.
Each of these behaviors has mental illness behind it, so eventually this topic is going to be reduced to, “customer service is about dealing with lunatics.”
The problem dirtbags pose to your business is the same many retail businesses have to deal with. Pandhandlers, aggressive homeless and car jackers. In the case of, let’s say, a 7-11, the operator has to deal with these people harassing his customers.
When he or she does so, this takes time from the running of his C-store. It eats his enthusiasm, ability to concentrate on important matters and gives him worry about the incidents that may keep customers from returning. No offense against 7-11, but I have had enough experiences where I avoid it if I can, and never take my children with me when I do. So I am a case study for the problem 7-11 has with dirtbags.
In another example, I have a client who has a couple dirtbags a year. The profile is so familiar that when I hear the first story, I tell her to fire them immediately.
That is my advice to you, and what I try to adhere to myself.
Because my client always has three, four or five follow-up stories about the dirtbag not paying, causing problems, 14 emails, etc. – all events that keep her from having fun tending to her non-dirtbag customers, and from doing marketing that attracts new, highly qualified and mentally stable clients.
Dirtbags exist. And if you know one personally you understand the flip side of my client’s story. Miraculously your dirtbag friend keeps having the same problem with multiple business, jobs, family, friends and random encounters – for years throughout their miserable dirtbag existence.
And I am certain you have had a couple dirtbag acquaintances you have ring-fenced from your inner circle. You just can’t handle the psychic cost.
So customer service, in my view, is about avoiding the lunatics, the dangerous and the dirtbags.
You do so by screening your customers. By having policies. By reviewing those policies with new customers, by keeping a close eye on the discontent, and mostly, by firing dirtbags if they exhibit whatever warning signs are native to your business.
You will look back on your business after you implement this approach with the satisfaction of having mastered customer service.
And you need to be the one who implements this policy because dirtbags don’t change, they don’t have: (See tomorrow’s message.)