Monday, March 20, 2006

Sometimes you´ve just gotta FIRE a customer

Jack Welch, who led GE to blazing success, had a rule: You gotta get rid of the bottom 10% of your employees every year. Controversial, but it obviously worked.

I say, the same applies to customers. The worst of them are NOT worth it. And in today's we celebrate the firing of one of MY customers. This one's a case study in "jerk factor."

This guy (we'll call him "A") registered for the $95 application fee to come to the seminar but his credit card didn't go through. Then when Jeremy contacted "A" to straighten this out, "A" started demanding to be given a whole bunch of information (almost all of which was already on the sales letter BTW!) and then he just got nasty:

"If the seminar isn't good or is just a sales pitch or is a bunch of eager yahoos all running forward to lick boots and ingratiate themselves like whining curs, frankly I'd rather sit tight where I am."

"I could deliver a two hours speech on AdWords and 25% clickthru ratios in the toughest industries out there at 5¢/click."

"Your reticence to give me the information (basic: schedule and accomodations) and eagerness to whack my card non-refundable fees has me very, very wary of your entire organisation at this point. Most of the goodwill the the Definitive Guide to Google AdWords created is down the drain."

Jeremy spent an entire week trying to be nice to this guy. Which is really incredible considering the guy apparently can't read - the application fee IS refundable, and the details are on my site. But you have to understand Jeremy, he's just about the nicest guy you can find.

If Jeremy's sister calls him up on the phone and asks him to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home, he'll say "I love you, Abbey" before he hangs up. That's how
nice Jeremy is. I'm a nice guy too but I'm not THAT nice. (Not to my sister anyway.)

Well all this was going on without my knowledge. But when I saw his email ("eager Yahoo's all running forward to lick boots...") I snapped.

I wrote him back:

"You are not invited to this seminar; all further discussion about this is terminated and also I am terminating your Renaissance Club Membership. I will not tolerate having my employees being treated the way you have been treating Jeremy, especially when you refuse to pay. I am sorry for any misunderstanding but I expect my members to use good etiquette with our staff at all times."

End of discussion. People like "A" do not belong at my seminar. They do not belong on my customer list. They do not belong on YOUR customer list. We don't need "A" to deliver a 2 hour speech on Adwords. People like "A" need to be left to rot in their pool of misery and not smear it all over us. They need to be fired. They eat up time, resources and emotional energy better devoted to customers who treat you and your employees right.

Now here's the real point: YOU have customers like this too (right?) and truth be told you can see 'em coming a mile away. The only thing that makes them happy is when they get their pound of flesh out of somebody.

I'm giving you permission to fire them. Get rid of 'em. Cancel their purchase order, give 'em their money back, send 'em packing. Then give your precious time and attention to another customer who deserves it. The one who deserves it is
almost always less demanding and doesn't have this nasty entitlement complex. And spends money with you, with less resistance.

Here's a little secret: The best-paying customers are also usually the ones that treat you with the most respect. You get the best of both worlds, or the
worst. You decide. I don't care how much you think you need the business, you don't want it from "A". Get rid of him. He's easily replaced.

Make it your Friday celebration today. Do it before noon and celebrate at lunch time!

And to all the people out their who want to build a business with positive energy and good will, I can't wait to give you a MacBook Pro at my seminar April 7-9. Today's the last day I can get my orders in to Apple and have guaranteed at-seminar delivery.

Happy Firing,
Perry Marshall

More on AdWords Seminar and success with Google AdWords

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