The Disgruntled Client Series

Dear suppliers,

You see, when you do things well, you get business. When you do things badly, you end up paying for the disappointment. Why? Because doing things well is the norm, the expected, the business as usual.

To this day it surprises me when suppliers ask for a pat on the back when they deliver “almost” what was promised or when their service is “nearly” on time.

You see, I’m THAT client. The one that expects high quality service from every angle they look at it. I’m the client that will chase you if you’re a minute late on your self-imposed deadline. I’m the client that will ask you many, many, many, many, many, many questions. Then I’m the client that wants a breakdown of all your answers. I’m the client that wants you to exceed my expectations, not meet them. I’m that DIFFICULT client.

To this day it baffles me that some of you haven’t figured out that belittling the frustrations of your client does not make for a good retention strategy. To this day, I still can’t understand why some choose to respond with arrogance when a client doesn’t make sense of their product. You can take my word for it that we’re honestly not thinking: “Oh, I’m very sorry, now that I understand what an utter dimwit I am, I suddenly have an irresistible urge to buy!”

That’s the same kind of level of thought process as guys over the age of 17 thinking that honking their horn at attractive passers-by will make life-altering enhancements to their sex-appeal. Wolf-whistling and other noises included. But I digress.

Worse, it still amazes me that you don’t realise this: making it easy for clients to understand your process, your costs and your product just makes for a simple sale plus a good reference. With the risk of sounding apocalyptic, the age where hustling by flashing unintelligible benefits until it makes the client dizzy, is over. We may not all be the sharpest tools in the shed, but intelligence is no longer a requirement. Information is at our fingertips, and there’s a whole sea full of other fish with better customer service.

PR isn’t that thing with a press release and a nice, picture-opportune-baby-kissing conference anymore. It’s global, digital, it’s in your intimacy and you can’t escape it.

And while company culture should encourage and support their employees, it still baffles me that you mistake that for taking a defensive attitude when concerns are raised with regards to service levels. We really understand that logistics are hard, but that’s why you run a business and we support it by buying your products.

You know what? You don’t need to like all of your clients. You need to manage them. Establish a culture of gratitude for your service and you will never go wrong. And it still baffles me that so many of you still don’t get this.

Why? So even if you stop collaborations with the jerk client due to ” inability to take on other projects and lack of in-house resources” because ” you aim to deliver a high quality service and you would not want to disappoint” they will still recommend you, and even if they don’t, they won’t give you a bad reference. Sprinkle a little business tact. It helps.

On a final note: If I’m THAT client…you’re THAT supplier.

Yups, no one wakes up in the morning thinking: “By jolly, I feel like chasing that supplier and spending half my day in a never-ending email thread asking the same question over and over again just for the fun of it.”

Thanks for the inspiration.


THAT client

Filed under: The BAD anything series Tagged: angry letter, bad supplier stories, client, client management, customer-centric, fuzzy details, never again, relationship, simple, transparent


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