So You want to be your Own Boss - 13 Types of Bad Customers

the customer is not always right
Photo Credit: TaskBullet

In my premier article on starting your own business So You want to be your Own Boss, we looked at a multitude of impediments facing a budding entrepreneur. Today I would like to discuss the dreaded bad customer. Yes, I've heard the expression that the customer is always right, but that is no longer true.

At one time, most people were honest in their dealings with a merchant and the few who took advantage of a business policy did not significantly affect the bottom line. But in the past few decades, with more and more people getting free stuff from the government, we have more entitled-feeling fraudsters trying to get free stuff from retailers. In addition, our local, state and federal governments have declared war on merchants by passing thousands of unnecessary laws, excessive restrictions, regulations, requirements, rules, fees, taxes, minimum wages, forms, applications, unnecessary inspections, unions and bureaucracies that there is no bottom line big enough to cover the cost of abuses by bad customers.

I have written before that people like to do business with me because I am fair. However there are customers who do not deserve fair treatment. No matter what business you're in, you will come across bad customers. What is a bad customer? Here are 13 traits and behaviors of a bad customer:

  1. Shoplifts.

  2. Habitually returns items.

  3. Tries to return or get credit for something not actually purchased at your business.

  4. Tries to return item which they damaged or already used.

  5. Takes forever to make up their mind.

  6. Is unruly or abusive.

  7. Asks sales-people tons of questions but never buys anything.

  8. Accepts service or receives item but refuses to pay.

  9. Pays but then lies (to credit card company) about service or product to get money back.

  10. Too stupid to shop by themselves.

  11. Never satisfied with purchase/does not accept item ordered.

  12. Gives small deposit but never comes in for item.

  13. Threatens/Files a complaint with the Better Business Bureau/eBay/Paypal in order to extort money or get something for free.

I intend to write a future article for each type of bad customer, giving real-life examples and how your customer service department or sales personnel should handle them.

This has been a Thursday 13 post [# 106] and is updated on some Thursdays.

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