I said, "Hold. The. KETCHUP!"

ketchup
I’m passionate about eating healthy (ask anybody at Haley Marketing!).

But on rare occasions, I have to eat fast food. And when I can’t get a vegetarian burrito from Mighty Taco, I opt for a burger joint.

It was on one of these “rare occasions” that I found myself in line behind a gentleman who obviously walked into the restaurant agitated.

He placed his order. He stepped to the side to wait. And when his burger came out, he seethed through clenched teeth:

“I said, ‘Hold. The. KETCHUP!'”

In case you’re wondering, he didn’t say that when he placed his order (I was standing right behind him). But whether or not he made the request is beside the point. This guy was obviously looking for an argument. No matter how that burger came out, he was going to find fault with it and complain.

Sometimes, customers are just impossible to please.

While you aren’t likely to encounter a request for a ketchup-free office assistant, the staffing industry has its share of clients who are impossible to deal with:

  • They present ridiculous job requirements.
  • They submit 11th hour orders for “needle in a haystack” workers.
  • They never listen to your sound advice.
  • They make unreasonable demands for price cuts.

And to top it all off, they typically do it with a condescending or downright nasty attitude.

What can we learn from bad staffing customers?

  • How not to treat others. Use tough clients as an educational tool for your employees. Discuss more professional, respectful ways to conduct business. Brainstorm ways to improve your service processes. And teach your team to shield themselves emotionally from hard-to-please clients.
  • How important it is to protect your team. When a client is consistently impossible to please and makes unreasonable demands, he damages your team’s morale. He damages your service reputation. And he costs you money. Certainly, you should always try to please tough customers and resolve their complaints. But when, despite multiple attempts, that’s simply not possible to do, the best thing to do is walk away.

Impossible clients will always exist. The way you handle them will define your service reputation! Weigh your options carefully, consider the long-term impact on your organization, and make service decisions that are in the customer’s best interest – as well as your own.

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