Customers Told, “You’re Fired!”

Discussion
Jul 07, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Larry Selden, co-author of Angel Customers & Demon Customers, says retailers need to face up to a hard fact.


“There are those customers that are just evil customers… fundamentally they’re out to cheat us,” he said. It’s not a large number of customers, but they can have a material impact on a business.”


Mr. Selden believes some are so evil that stores really have no choice other than to do their best Donald Trump and tell these customers, “You’re fired!”


Best Buy is one of the companies that works with Mr. Selden and, while the consumer electronics chain is not ready to begin firing “problem” customers, it is looking at ways to make dealing with them more profitable.


The retailer’s chief executive Brad Anderson said its policy isn’t to “eliminate those customers but just diminish the number of offers we make to them.”


In a highly publicized case, the department store Filene’s decided last year to “fire” two of its customers (sisters) and ban them from all its stores after deciding they had too many returns and complaints about the retailer’s service.


Moderator’s Comment: How should retailers deal with so-called demon customers? Conversely, what should they being
doing for the angels who shop in their stores?


Most of us who have worked in retail have at one point and time wished we had the same power over customers as Yev Kazem, the Soup Nazi character, from
the old Seinfeld series. “No soup for you! Come back one year. Next!”

George Anderson – Moderator

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