Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why NOT to befriend your customer!

Let me tell you a story about a small business owner that recently got a divorce. He found himself spending even more time at work-and holidays alone. He started looking for people to help him feel less lonely and because of his long work hours, those people were his customers. This is a big mistake! 

There really is a fine line between having customers you love and actually pursuing a relationship with them outside the business. In this scenario, the customers that he befriended had an agenda other than filling his needs. They wanted a large sponsorship donation from him. They waited until he was intoxicated at a social event they invited him to and then asked him for this donation. He agreed. 

Then when they came to collect their money, he looked puzzled. He didn't remember making this commitment but they sure did! 

At this point, you really are stuck. You could fork out the cash and suck it up or you could refuse to pay and potentially damage the relationship with the customer in the future. In this case, the money was paid. But he learned his lesson. 

This is a lesson for business owners in the future. Beware of the overeager customer-you may have something they want. 

1. Never develop on outside relationship with a customer that you don't mind losing as a customer. 
2. Never, ever, discuss business while drinking. 

Note: Not all customers are out to get you for money but it's always a good practice to only interact with customers in the business setting. 

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