We all know that “The Customer” is of paramount importance to every successful business and to keep customers satisfied we should run that extra mile. This is a wonderful concept and an opportunity for SMEs to win customers from large corporations. But how long is that extra mile? How much can you sacrifice without feeling abused?
Your Terms of Service
It is a very good idea to prepare your Terms of Service before you even start trading. Make sure that you obtain a legal advice on it to make sure that it aligns with Consumer Rights in your country. It can look as a nuisance while you are not trading yet but there will certainly be Day X, when you will be really grateful to have it to protect YOU.
Do you have what it takes?
It’s OK not to be able to satisfy all customers’ needs and you have to be honest with yourself about the quantity/quality of the product or level of service that you are able or not able to provide. According to Pareto principle 20% of our clients will take up to 80% of our time and effort. It is up to you not to let them take up all of your time. Be prepared for it and it will not strike you all of a sudden.
If you are a start-up business and you do not have a steady flow of customers you could wonder why would you want to deny services to the prospective customer. There can be numerous reasons why, and the best idea is to cover all of those that you can come up with within your terms of service. These can include:
- Legal issues – when a customer is not able to satisfy your legal requirements for the service you provide
- Billing issues – customer consistently fails to pay your invoices on time
- Abuse issues – customer abusing you/your staff/other customers
- Discretionary – you need the documented ability to deny services to any prospective customer on your sole discretionary basis
Parting with your customer
When you come to the point where you are not able to satisfy your customer and your customer is growing more and more dissatisfied, it can be a wise decision just to part with your customer in the most polite and courteous way. If you are providing a service it is a good idea to provide your customer with a refund as well.
It might not seem that straight forward for you, but after finalizing matters with a customer you can notice, that they brought you and your business invaluable experience that you would have missed without them. Do not forget to thank your customer no matter how easy or difficult it was for you to handle the matters.
Be Positive! Be Successful!