Apparel Graphic Academy

Dealing with unreasonable and ridiculous customers

This week has been very challenging while dealing with unreasonable and entitled customers. The old saying,  “the customer is always right” has taken a new meaning with customers these days.  The new saying is, “The customer is always right and you need to give me stuff for free”.

The first customer I had to deal with is a local customer that was unhappy with our customer service. The gripe was that our inside sales rep was not emailing her back fast enough. The customer believes that she is the only customer we are dealing with and an email should be responded to immediately.

This is difficult for sales reps, since they are helping walk-in customers and answering the phones. I tell our sales reps to respond to emails in the morning and the afternoon. It is terrible time management if  you sit at your desk and respond to emails as they come in. When you block out a time, you can focus on your email batches without getting interrupted.  Emailing haphazardly is confusing and stressful for a sales rep.

Anyway, the customer wanted to talk to me privately and discuss her frustration with slow email responses. I invited her into my office and I emphasized with her. I said, ” I get frustrated too when our vendors don’t email me back timely.”  She then put down her guard and she actually helped me out with some ideas on responding to email. The customer just wanted the sales rep to acknowledge that they received the email, by a quick response saying, “I got your email and I will get back to you soon as possible”. This problem was solved quickly and even though the customer is a pain the butt, they do spend about $3,000.00 annually with us.

The 2nd customer I dealt with was complaining that they had to pay for 2 shirts they ordered. This customer is a small customer and always complains that her order was done correctly. In the past our sales reps would give her a discount or shirts for free. The customer picked up their order of about 24 shirts and then said we left off 2 small shirts.  The customer never ordered the 2 small shirts and we have emails to prove it. Anyway,  our sales rep apologizes and we order the 2 shirts in for her.  The customer lives about 12 miles away and we didn’t want to inconvenience her by driving out to pick up the 2 shirts, so we shipped them to her.

The next week, I see a post on our Facebook page with her complaining about how we shorted her two shirts and then we had the audacity to charge her for the shirts. She believed the shirts should of been free of charge, since she didn’t receive them on her initial order. Last year our sales rep, (who is no longer here) gave her a bunch of shirts for free.  However, this year we didn’t crumple over and give her the shirts for free.  She called me on the telephone so upset and saying how she will take her business elsewhere. I remained very calm on the phone and ask her to explain the situation again.  Once again, I told her she left the shirts off on the first order and she needs to pay for these. I wanted her to give me a logical reason why she didn’t have to pay for these shirts and of course she couldn’t give me a reason. She was so frustrated that she said she would pay the bill ($28.00) and never do business with us.  The issue with me wasn’t the money, but the ridiculous argument she was making.  Anyway, I haven’t heard back from her and I will be looking for the check in the mail.

Erik Mickelson

Operations Manger

Northwest Custom Apparel