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Great website, successful business? Don’t let bad customers zap your good-customer energy

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Your web design is flawless.

Your domain name is so keyword focused it’s practically a work of  art.

Not to mention your website has been literally search engine optimized from here to the moon.

You’ve worked overtime to make that website really hum by blogging to create deep pages for search engines to bring up in keyword searches, getting listed in all the right directories.  You can tell that your business website has proven itself as a serious up-and-comer, a site well on it’s way to developing a recognized and respected presence on the Web.

As a result of all that well-spent money, time and tender loving care, your business has achieved a decent gallop headed straight for a high Google Page Rank.  You fantasize that it might even make those retail sites closer to the top of the heap tremble in their Internet boots one day.

Okay, probably not, but you’d like to think so.  Kinda, sorta.  After all, it has taken a heck of a lot of work to reach this place of satisfaction and accomplishment.  A place providing you with that awesome feeling that your website is indeed on its way toward blissful financial security as profits roll in off your site faster than poop through a goose.

Then what happens?

Suddenly you wake up one day and find that you are actually in way over your head.  In plain English, you are in so deep as a result of all that incoming business from your website that you can’t see daylight.  You’ve been so good at advancing your company as a result of that flawlessly designed website and search engine optimization, not to mention your own efforts to add pages to your site, that you recklessly ignored something huge.

You neglected to take care of the really important business:  Keeping your own business such a good business that it’s protected from all that lurks in the marketplace as bad business.

According to, the website for Inc. Magazine, considered an industry leader as a resource helping business owners start, run, and grow their businesses more successfully:

No matter how sweet the siren song , remember:

* Not all customers are good customers

* Not all orders are good orders

* Not all offerings should be made.

How can you tell good customers from bad customers?

When it comes to “not all customers are good customers,” the answer is to provide the best customer service to ALL customers.

As necessary, offer refunds without hesitation to those customers who seem unlikely to ever be satisfied.  Don’t quibble, don’t resist.  An unsatisfied customer who is determined to stay unsatisfied needs a speedy refund if only to rid yourself of a problematic non-repeat customer.

Provide patient support to those customers you perceive to be worth the effort for potential repeat business.  They won’t disappoint you.

And as for those customers who came to you through a promotion who prove to be difficult, advocates:

The customer is acquired through the least expensive method or needed a high promotional inducement.  The “least expensive” method suggests they sought you– and that is often too good to be true.  The promotional inducement suggests sensitivity to price or incentive, which is not good for long-term loyalty. also states:

Bad (customers) are the ones that drain resources.  They also have an opportunity cost.  That is, a business has less time to focus on top customers.  Bad customers often demoralize employees because of their complaints and excessive demands.  Moreover, they are often the source of negative word-of-mouth.

Not all orders are good orders.

Consider the cost to your business when you offer to carry a business that asks for “Net 90 days.” states:

When a customer uses this term, or one similar to it, it means you are financing his business. Generally a bad move.  It’s hard enough to finance your own.  Even if the potential customer is a large company with a large order that makes you salivate, don’t forget who’s playing banker in this transaction.  Or how much it costs you to do so.

And how about “not all offerings should be made”?

Both Forbes and Inc. advocate that research has unequivocally proven 80 percent of sales will be transacted by 20 percent of your customer base.

That translates into focusing on new customers turning into repeat customers and not expending a huge amount of energy and advertising to attract bad customers who are only interested in the “freebie” they receive by responding to your advertising campaigns.

Consider:  The bad customer is essentially a disloyal patron of your business who wants something for nothing and refuses to pay for your service or product.  Good customers appreciate your efforts and the goods and services you provide as soon as they connect with you.

They may have some issues from time to time that they bring to you but they also bring customer loyalty to your business as you address those issues and successfully correct them.

What to do when you are dealing with a bad customer?

The experts at Inc. and Forbes suggest using your best customer service skills by pointing that customer in the direction of another supplier.  One that can better meet their needs.

The worst thing you can do with your business, they say, is to design your business policies focusing on penalizing bad customers when you should focus instead on setting rules and policies to meet the needs of your best customers.

And yet, how many businesses can you name that do exactly the opposite? Probably quite a few.

Best advice:  Don’t let your business become one of them.

Debi Ketner is a professional internet marketer.  Read her here each week on and share your thoughts!