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Tough Customers

The customer isn't always right. When clients cross the line, here's how to deal.

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This story appears in the October 1998 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

You've heard the old adage "The customer is always right." Well, you also know there's an exception to every rule. Like when a customer refuses to pay his bill, demands a full refund for merchandise he damaged, makes a scene because of the long line at the checkout counter, or changes his mind midway through a project and expects you to absorb the additional expense.

At some point in your life as an entrepreneur, you're bound to butt heads with customers who aren't right, but flex their muscles, raise their voices and demand their needs be honored--unconditionally. You don't need to tolerate such outrageous behavior in fear you'll offend a customer and lose business. Instead, you need a strategy for handling temperamental clients and resolving conflicts.

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