Thanks, But No Thanks

Spotting The Hazards

Maybe some of your current clients should be on the "cut list." Take a look at whom you serve, and I'll bet a number of names jump out as "problems" in one way or another. For instance, which ones:

  • are never satisfied with products or services, no matter how much you try to please them?
  • think the rules don't apply to them when it comes to paying their bills on time, returning rented equipment, or treating their purchase with reasonable care so it doesn't break or perform improperly?
  • expect more than their fair share of product or attention, or interpret "follow-up service" as a 24/7 proposition?
  • require too much of your time to accommodate their requests?

It's easy to overestimate your abilities and underestimate your need for help. If you don't know your market and who your ideal customer is, you can fall into the "trying to please everyone" trap. That's why it's a good idea to periodically do a reality check. Compare who you think your ideal customer is with who they really are.

Leann Anderson is the owner of Anderson Business Resources, a Greeley, Colorado, company specializing in customer service, marketing and business etiquette. E-mail her at

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This article was originally published in the March 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Thanks, But No Thanks.

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