Early this morning I was returning from Chennai Central station after seeing off my son. I booked a shared ride and when I called the driver, he asked me to cross over as he was waiting near GH. It was a 3 minute walk for me and I didn’t think twice.
When I boarded the cab, there were 2 other people already and one more was to join. And then that person called and the driver told him that he is waiting on the other side of the road. That passenger insisted that the cab come to where he was standing despite the driver telling him that it will be a long detour to come there and that 3 passengers were waiting already.
Despite repeated requests, he refused to cross the road and it was already getting late for us. He was also quite abusive. Faced with pressure from us and left with no alternative, the driver cancelled that ride and we went ahead.
Although I believe that the customer is right and important, this is a situation where it needs to be treated as an exception.
Let us remember that the person who booked the share ride did so because he did not want to spend more money on a regular cab and hence cannot demand that he be served as a sole passenger.
Many of you may be familiar with this situation but you may be wondering why I am sharing this in this blog.
Sometimes you may be faced with a customer situation in your own business who is extremely demanding in a manner that is more than commensurate.
He may be asking for features or facilities that may put your product road map at a risk and more importantly alienate your other customers. And this might happen at a time when you really need customers. What should you do?
As a software product entrepreneur, I have received many requests for features that are specific to that prospect which make no sense for the larger customer base.
And where a feature request is a pre-condition to an order, I have communicated with the prospect that he wants me to treat him as a project customer at the cost of a product (very similar to this passenger who booked a share ride but expects the privileges of a solo ride) and that it doesn’t work. But when they continued to insist, I have politely refused to go along.
It is in your own interest and the interest of your business that you should turn down that business opportunity, like the driver who cancelled the ride.
In such cases where the prospect or the customer may not be right for your business, you need to have the clarity to say ‘No’ even if it means a pain in the short-term. But if you are desperate to say ‘yes’, you are putting your entire business at peril.
As part of the ExSell consulting service, we help Founders, especially those who are not from the sales background, become comfortable in managing unreasonable customer expectations such as the above, with a host of mock sessions. We help you get ready to make decisions that may appear to be customer-unfriendly but which are actually aligned to your business objectives.
Contact us today to engage with us and take your business ahead on the growth path
(Image courtesy: linkedin.com)