What is the question that most security guard companies are afraid to ask themselves? The answer is “Should I fire this customer?”
The customer service truism dictates that the customer is always right, but as a security guard company owner or manager you know this is not always the case. Sometimes a customer is so wrong for your business that you need to cut them loose — and it’s important to know when it’s time to do just that so they don’t become a drag on your operations.
“You need to focus on all customers, not just one,” says Drew Stevens, president of Stevens Consulting.
Here’s how to know when it’s time to encourage a customer to move on.
When They Cost You Money
You know there are costs to doing business, but the time you spend building a relationship with a customer can often result in a great contract. However, there’s a point when all a customer does is cost you money — and when that time comes, the relationship needs to end. “When the time you spend with one client is taking away from your time serving other clients, it’s time to let them go,” Stevens recommends.
Frequent calls to you or your Operations Manager about the scope of service, constant complaints about service quality, or an overly particular attention to detail are all signs that you are spending too much time with one customer. Be sure to make a note of the time you or your account managers are spend managing customer service issues.
When Their Expectations Aren’t Realistic
Some customers are simply unrealistic, Stevens says. “They complain to gate agents for planes that are delayed for weather, or about waiting more than four minutes for a medical appointment, and shout when overnight delivery has not dropped off their package first thing in the morning,” he explains. So if you’re starting to feel like a customer’s demands for a tier 1 security officer at a less than tier 1 billing rate are unrealistic, they probably are.
Before you let them go, make sure your salespeople are accurately setting expectations and that your contracts are accurate and explicitly outline the scope of service. Expectations that go beyond that, however, are a bad sign. In the end, these customers will eat up your productivity and profits as you try to reach their unrealistic demands.
When They Don’t Respect You
Rudeness at any point in the customer journey is a bad sign. A customer who won’t back away from their arrogance when dealing with you is a big red flag, Stevens remarks. It’s disruptive and unpleasant to deal with them, and if they’re rude to your security officers, it will definitely increase your turnover at that location…we’ve all been there.
Finally, a customer that doesn’t mind looking like a jerk can hurt your reputation. “One chronically poor customer can taint hundreds of potential customers by airing their issues with your organization” through social media, Stevens says.
When you fire a customer, Stevens recommends putting the reasons why in writing. Stress that the current relationship is not a good fit for both of you. Being proactive about cutting a customer loose can help protect your company in the long run.
Have you every had to fire a customer? If so, why did you fire them? Or if you have a customer that you want to fire but haven’t, why? Please share your comments below.
By Courtney Sparkman
OfficerReports.com is a software company that provides security guard companies with an easy way to monitor their officers, better manage their operations, and win new business. Take a tour of our software to see how we combine Electronic Reporting, Real-Time GPS based Tour Tracking, and GPS based Clock In and Out into one easy to use platform.