I have a “please everyone” tendency. I find it very difficult when people criticize or don’t like me. What I have learned of course is, that it’s impossible to please everyone. And that no matter what you do, some people won’t like it. In the past, I tried to please every single customer. Not anymore.
Why I believe you should fire (some) customers:
- Usually 1% of your customers cause the majority of your headaches. If you get rid of this 1%, you save yourself a lot of negative energy, with very negligible revenue loss.
- Some entrepreneurs have instituted a “no negativity” rule (also known as the “no asshole” rule): for customers, employees or business partners. I like it. Life is too short to work with people that cause bad vibes.
- Your are not the slave of your customers. If a customer abuses you, you have the right to end the relationship.
- Take a strong position. Be the perfect match for a specific market segment, and a bad match for the rest. Avoid being everything to everyone.
- Be honest. If you feel you cannot offer enough value to your customer, tell him that and reject the business. Such good karma will pay off.
How we apply this at Exsila:
- We trust our users. We don’t question them. We always give the benefit of the doubt. However: If you abuse our trust, we either give one warning, or we end the relationship outright.
- We actively end the relationship with users who are clearly a bad match or offer negative value for the ecosystem. We tell them “Sorry, our platform is not the perfect match for you. Maybe a different platform will suit you better. We’re sorry it didn’t work out.”
- Our time is not free. Each minute that we spend costs real cash. Very often it’s cheaper and more efficient to immediately give a refund, instead of entering into lengthy discussions. We even have a budget for that. If we have the option of paying out 20 CHF or discuss and potentially entering into a fight, we often choose the “bail out”, even when the facts are clearly on our side.