Have you ever had a prospect and/or customer from hell? I am talking about a customer that seemed charming when everything in the transaction was going well and did a 180 degree turn when they didn’t get when they want. I have had several experiences like this during my time in outside sales. What about those prospects that smile to your face and then actively try to undermine you behind your back? I have dealt with these kind of prospects and customers as well. Behavior like this is clearly the work of a sociopath. For our purposes here, a sociopath has two definitions: 1 A person who has no conscience and is incapable of feeling emotions of any kind. 2 A person who gets pleasure from making other people miserable.
In a previous article, I discussed how to deal with difficult customers. The customers/prospects I described above, are extremely difficult to deal with. People who are sociopaths are in places of power and authority. In sales, I have had to deal with sociopaths from time to time. From the customer who demands what they are not entitled to and abusive customers who got pleasure from seeing me sweat.
Now you are asking how to deal with these people? Well the first thing that I would suggest is to avoid them like the plague if possible. What do you do if you need their business? Too often people like this hold the purse strings to that big commission, a promotion and make the difference between a big income and a very small one. Think of Don Drapers new boss Lou the Creative Director from Mad Men. He is a true sociopath.
How do you deal with such people? To deal with such people, you need to make a judgment call it see if it is worth it for you. If you decide that it is, you need to turn off your emotions and protect your health, put your head down and do what they want. You can justify this as a temporary situation or as a means to an end. Visualize yourself getting what you want as a result of servicing this sociopath. If you could do this, you could effectively deal with these sociopaths. Give them what they want so you could get what you want. This is not easy to do.
How have you dealt with Sociopaths in your business career?
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Poor customers service costs businesses sales. I observed this first hand yesterday.
I was in the supermarket yesterday and I observed a man who was wanted to buy mussels (seafood). These mussels were packaged in bushels. As you can imagine, there were long lines in the supermarket. There were scales to weigh food items both at the Deli counter/Meat Department and at the checkout lines. After a long wait on the checkout line, the cashier was ringing up the items. When it came time to charge the customer for the mussels the cashier said, ” the mussels have to be weighted and priced by the Meat Department”. Mind you there was a scale right at the cash register!
As a result, the customer stormed out of the store in frustration leaving a large order behind. Clearly, the store should have done one of two things:
1 Have the deli counter personnel package and weigh all of the so the cashier could check customers out.
2 Train the cashier to weigh and price the mussels.
Also, the cashier should have had the store manager help this customer in this case.
Clearly the store should train it’s people better and have policies in place to prevent this from happening again. The store lost a lot of business from this order. It may seem small, but what if this would happen on a regular basis?
Lapses in customer service add up to damage to brand reputations, lost customers and lost profits.
How is poor customer service impacting your business?