Are you a good customer or a bad customer?

Most of us have experienced both good customer service and bad customer service at some point in our lives, but it is also possible to be a good customer or a bad customer. If you are a good customer, staff at places you frequent will be glad when you visit their establishment. If you are a bad customer, they will still accept your business since it is good business practice to treat all customers respectfully whether or not the customer is a good or bad one. Businesses themselves are also often customers of other businesses so this post applies to both businesses as well as individuals.

When I say bad customer, I am guessing your first thought is customers many of us have seen that will yell at staff when things do not go exactly as the customer wants. For example, if a customer wants a specific food faster than it can safely be prepared or if a customer does gets mad that they have to wait because there are other people who have orders ahead of that person. However, there are other things a person can do that can frustrate staff at businesses as well. Here is a list of items we have thought of to help you know if your treatment of various businesses is behavior that makes the businesses look forward to your patronizing them or behavior that can be frustrating.

  1. When using a business, do you expect your request to fulfilled right away whether or not there are other requests ahead of you?

    Most businesses fill requests on a first come first serve basis. If somebody absolutely needs something done quickly (which is commonly known as a rush job), then there is usually an additional charge added because that makes anybody already waiting before you put in your request wait longer which is not fair to them. If you know you are going to want something by a certain time, it is best to go to the business and make a request as soon as you know you are going to need changes. Granted, there are times when you do not know you are going to need something until the last minute, but it is best to not wait until the last minute if you can help it.

  2. When paying a monthly bill to a company, do you pay when you get the bill, wait until the last minute to pay it, pay it somewhere in between, or pay late?

    I realize it is not always possible to pay a bill right when you get it, but there is usually plenty of time from when you get a bill to when the bill is due to not have to wait until the last minute. If you pay on time (or even before it is due), it keeps you in good standing with the business. If you wait until the last minute, you could wind up with a late fee depending on when the business receives your payment. This is very likely to happen if you pay by mail and wait until the last minute to send payment.

    Businesses have schedules for when they send their invoices and when the date of the next invoice hits, they have to send it out whether or not your payment has reached them yet. If your payment has not reached them when the next scheduled invoice goes out, they have to charge you as if it has not been paid which is the unpaid amount plus a late fee. They have to charge that way whether or not the payment has been sent to them yet to keep their paperwork and schedules in order. If they receive your payment after they send the invoice and it is postmarked before the due date of whatever their grace period day is, then they will just take the extra amount off the next month’s invoice. If the amount of the payment that was sent in time, but arrived after the invoice is more than what is due on the next invoice, they will give you a credit for the remainder of the money that will be deducted on future invoices. However, if the payment is received after the invoice is sent and postmarked after the due date, then they will most likely just send an adjusted invoice.

  3. If you are the owner of a well known business or some other well known individual, do you expect special treatment just because of who are you are?
    This has not happened to us yet, but I have seen it happen in other places where somebody wants special treatment because of who they are or what business they own. While some businesses might cater to those individuals, we think that is a bad business move because it means that customers ahead of them get pushed back in line. That can make for a bunch of angry customers which is not good for business.
  4. If you use a business where you know the owner, do you expect special treatment or different prices than everybody else just because you know the owner outside of business?

    Nowadays, a lot of us know at least one person who owns a business. However, a person should be able to separate business from personal. If the person you know owns a business such as a retail store or a restaurant (or on an in person session if they have a mobile business which is a business that goes to the customer); saying hi to them, a little bit of chit chat, or saying “How is so and so?” to another staff member is fine, but expecting favors or special prices is not. All of our customers get the same prices and the same service whether or not we know them outside of business. Even if our favorite celebrities somehow found out about us and used our services, they would get the same prices and service as well; including having to wait their turn if there are other requests in front of them or getting a rush job fee if their request had to be fulfilled right away. We may be called Friendly Computer Help, but we do not believe in playing favorites because would not be fair (or friendly for that matter) to people we do not know outside of business.

When I go to another business, I always try to be a good customer. I admit I do have my off days occasionally, but everybody has those too. Now that you have read our blog, are you a good customer or a bad customer when you use other businesses?

Michelle Russell

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