Thursday, March 9, 2017

“You’re Fired!” Getting Rid of a Bad Prospective Home Buyer

Don’t we all wish we had a time machine that would whisk us back to a few day before we signed the contract to build a house for a certain customer? After signing the contract they made you cringe every time your cell phone brought up their name or an email from them arrived on your computer. Face to face meetings usually turned into arguments.

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First Rule of Modular Home Building:

There’s a Difference Between Challenging Customers and Bad Customers

First, a very important warning: once you learn how to deal with bad customers, it can be tempting to write off any challenging customer as a bad customer.

DO NOT DO THIS.

Here’s why: challenging customers are not necessarily bad customers. In fact, the ROI of delivering excellent customer service to challenging customers is often higher than the “easy” interactions.

Customers who are having trouble with your specs and contract before they sign — and tell you about it — are giving you one of the greatest business gifts imaginable.

Second Rule of Modular Home Building:

For every customer who complains about an issue, 26 keep their mouth shut.

Simply by solving the problem of one “challenging” customer, you could improve the future homes for dozens of others.

Bad customers, on the other hand, offer little upside for giving in to their demands:
  • Bad customers are rude and abusive to you or your staff.
  • Bad customers make unreasonable demands (e.g., refunds long after the sale, free services far beyond the scope of your business, steep discounts for no good reason).
  • Bad customers threaten to complain about you on social media, review sites and to their friends.
  • Bad customers are toxic to your business, and more than any other danger that they pose, bad customers roadblock your time and attention that should be spent on the 99% of customers who actually benefit your business in return for the value you deliver.

A Bad Customer Is NOT necessarily a Bad Person

Before we grab our pitchforks, let’s take a moment for an empathy check.

Being a bad customer is not necessarily a reflection on what kind of person someone is.

We all have bad days. And on those days, we’re far more likely to lash out at others. One of the most common ways that stress manifests itself is displaced anger.

In any situation where you’re feeling attacked or offended, it’s helpful to take a step back and put yourself into your customer’s shoes; most of the time, their behavior has nothing to do with you.

Third Rule of Modular Home Building

Follow your instincts

If a prospective home buyer has become more than just a challenging buyer, you should fire this bad customer before they sign the contract.

If you have a bad feeling about them before they sign your contract, what do you think will happen after they sign? Do you really need to sell a house so badly that you would jeopardize your health and financial well being?
Your goal is to grow your business by making your home buyers loyal and happy. And if you do it right, the rewards can be massive.

Your happy home buyers drive word-of-mouth marketing, telling an average of nine people about their experiences. Happy customers reduce your costs of service during and after the sale.

Bad home buyers on the other hand are nearly always either unhappy customers, or they cost many times more to keep happy than your other home buyers.

If you find firing a prospective home buyer hard to do, maybe you should try selling cemetery plots instead. I've never heard a dead person complain about the view or the size of the accommodations.

1 comment:

josh margulies said...

how can there be no comments on this favorite one!

it should be noted that, in a custom home build agreement, once started, no one should be firing anyone. If you want the house built mr. customer be nice, and , if you want to be paid mr. builder play nice.

This is true regardless of contract - the best contract in the world will keep no asshole from being an asshole.

When you do encounter what is, after all possible analysis and understanding an irredeemable asshole you must not fire him but stop his work until he understands you to be serious. When and how you do this is a 102 class. Definately not for boot camps.