I have a productized service business that occasionally drives me bonkers. Most of our customers are pretty good - they show up, pay, and we do our work. They look it over, maybe ask for a few corrections or ask a few questions, and go happily on their way.
Occasionally, we get people who seem to be real “high maintenance”. Very rarely, they’re just plain toxic customers, as described by @robwalling here: http://www.softwarebyrob.com/2010/12/09/how-to-detect-a-toxic-customer/
Difficult though they may be, however, the majority of these difficult customers are not actually toxic, they’re just difficult. They have somewhat unrealistic expectations of timing, support (they all want to chat on the phone, it seems), or are frustrated by their own technological shortcomings - which we do our best to help them with, but… we can’t do things like fix their computers for them. Perhaps they’re more akin to @patio11 's blue Googles lady.
However, businesses wise, they are problematic, in that they take up an inordinate amount of time and energy to deal with. They are the 20% in the 80/20 rule. When dealt with properly, sometimes they do turn into big fans: “someone solved my problem!”, so they’re not people we don’t want to exclude completely, but it’d sure be nice to manage them a bit.
I’ve been trying to think of a clever way to have them consider their interactions with us a bit more. I don’t suppose it’d be easy, but I was thinking along the lines of “get a discount on your next job if you keep your support interactions under N”. Naturally, worded in a nicer way, but the idea is to offer an incentive for people to be a bit more careful in their use of our time, and make them see it as a gift to them, rather than paying extra.
I suppose it could irritate some people, so it’s not something I’m going to do soon or without talking to some of our customers.
Any ideas or opinions?