How to ignore customers and still give great service

Ahh, that dreaded moment when a customer complains.

Maybe you experience gut-wrenching frustration to the point you want to punch someone, scream, or do both (might be a good time to investigate that new kickboxing class, perhaps?).

Or maybe you get sick to your stomach, agonizing over how to respond.

My thoughts? Sometimes you just need to cut ’em loose.

Tell them no, wish them the best, and cut ’em loose.

This is the polar opposite of what most would tell you is excellent customer service, but hear me out.

I read an awesome article on HuffPo about how that old adage “the customer is always right” is pretty much wrong.

One quote stood out in particular. Gordon Bethune, the former head of Continental Airlines, said:

When we run into customers that we can’t reel back in, our loyalty is with our employees. They have to put up with this stuff every day. Just because you buy a ticket does not give you the right to abuse our employees …

And that’s the meat of it.

I’m not saying ignore people who have legitimate complaints that you need to address.

But if a customer thinks that coming in and screaming at you or trying to intimidate you or your employees into giving them more than what’s fair…

Yelling and screaming is not the way civilized people do business.

Yelling and screaming is not the way civilized people do business.

…screw that guy (or gal, as the case may be).

If you were in the wrong, fix it and move on. If you were not in the wrong, tell them no and that someone else will be more than happy to have their business.

Let someone else deal with the problem children. If business is a battle, you’re not going to leave unscathed. But you absolutely CAN refuse to be dragged into an all out brawl in the mud.

Problem customers are not worth your anguish. Let ’em go so that you can focus on going above and beyond for people who love you to pieces.



If you’re an aspiring freelancer who’s working up the courage to leave the day job… good news! I’m sharing all the things I WISH I’d known before making the leap so that hopefully your journey goes a little more smoothly than mine.

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