Bad date customers



  • I have an actually pretty awesome job where I do a combination of new software development, maintenance programming, and customer support.  Not general population end users, but the users in our particular market.  There are many similarities with support for general users, but one thing I get is frequent work with the same customers over many years.  So we build relationships.

    I have one customer - I probably beefed about them here before.  It struck me today that they're like a bad date.  You know the kind where you don't realize the person is desparate (or extremely lonely) when you agree to the date?  But halfway through you find yourself trying to find ways to politely extricate yourself?  And when that doesn't work, you have to actually get rude before the person will leave you alone?  This customer is exactly like that!   *shudder*



  • So how rude did you get with them before they left, or haven't you reached that stage yet? 



  • Ugh, I'm trying soooo hard not to get rude because they're a WELL-PAYING customer.  But I have told my project manager I wouldn't do any more work for them and here's why.  That worked fine - surprisingly the PM let me get away with that.  Of course he's a teddy bear and just took it all upon himself instead of talking to them.  But since things died down, I agreed recently to do a couple of enhancements for them, and sure enough.... back to octopus hands.  Well not literally, but it sometimes feels like it.  Now I'm telling our help desk manager that I'm forwarding all their questions to them and here's why.  So far he's okay with that.

    If you want an example here is a great one.  We do work for customers all across the country, right?  So we're not exactly sitting on our thumbs waiting for the phone to ring.  Octopus customer emailed me yesterday asking for the contact information for his local paging vendor.  AS IF I WOULD KNOW, YOU ASKWHOLE!?  And the more I talk to them, the more they pester me with crap like that so that I'm spending 6+ hours a day on them alone.



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    It struck me today that they're like a bad date.  You know the kind where you don't realize the person is desparate (or extremely lonely) when you agree to the date?  But halfway through you find yourself trying to find ways to politely extricate yourself?

    Wow what a bitch. Pretty common for your kind though.



  • @poopdeville said:

    @jetcitywoman said:

    It struck me today that they're like a bad date.  You know the kind where you don't realize the person is desparate (or extremely lonely) when you agree to the date?  But halfway through you find yourself trying to find ways to politely extricate yourself?

    Wow what a bitch. Pretty common for your kind though.

    Sounds like this rang a bit too true for someone's taste.

    Anyway, have you considered charging more for support from this person?

    Also, Octopus Hands? What the hell is this?



  •  @poopdeville said:

    @jetcitywoman said:

    It struck me today that they're like a bad date.  You know the kind where you don't realize the person is desparate (or extremely lonely) when you agree to the date?  But halfway through you find yourself trying to find ways to politely extricate yourself?

    Wow what a bitch. Pretty common for your kind though.

    With a name like poop, you must be pretty desparate huh. 



  • @poopdeville said:

    Wow what a bitch. Pretty common for your kind though

    Thanks!   But I bet you'd never found yourself quite literally pulling groping hands off your body and shoving the person away... on a first date.  Actually it kind of sounds like maybe you were the groper.  :-)



  •  With cutomers you can't be an ass... What you got to do is make them feel stupid and leave u alone. Unfortunately good customer-relations can become a problem when the customer does not want to think for themselves at all.

    You gota make your project manager make the decision if you can tell the clients to go away. And by go away I mean present them with a way so that they can come up with their own solution, or increase their service expected time to something very long so that they would be more inclined to do the work themselves.

    -- Or just complain aboot it :P



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    Ugh, I'm trying soooo hard not to get rude because they're a WELL-PAYING customer.  But I have told my project manager I wouldn't do any more work for them and here's why.  That worked fine - surprisingly the PM let me get away with that.  Of course he's a teddy bear and just took it all upon himself instead of talking to them.  But since things died down, I agreed recently to do a couple of enhancements for them, and sure enough.... back to octopus hands.  Well not literally, but it sometimes feels like it.  Now I'm telling our help desk manager that I'm forwarding all their questions to them and here's why.  So far he's okay with that.

    If you want an example here is a great one.  We do work for customers all across the country, right?  So we're not exactly sitting on our thumbs waiting for the phone to ring.  Octopus customer emailed me yesterday asking for the contact information for his local paging vendor.  AS IF I WOULD KNOW, YOU ASKWHOLE!?  And the more I talk to them, the more they pester me with crap like that so that I'm spending 6+ hours a day on them alone.

     

    Sounds like you need a BA in between you and them, let them talk to the BA and you don't have to talk to them at all.



  • Oh it's really good.  We do make them responsible for basic management of their own systems, to the extent that we offer classes on how to do that.  Either in our office or theirs.  They have no excuse.  I'm pretty sure they're trying to be manipulative and taking advantage of our good relationship.  I've tried telling them sweetly they can do whatever task themselves.  To which they reply they're having trouble and can you help me...   And I end up doing it practically for them.  Add in my somewhat spineless management.  I can't blame my project manager very much, because HIS boss is a total invertebrate and wouldn't support him if he laid down the law either.



  • Two basic approaches to discourage sending this sort of PITA work your way:

     

    1. Raise your rates
    2. Increase your response times

    #2 can be justified if spending 6+ hours a day on the octopus is damaging your relationship with other customers.  However well the octopus pays, you'd be smart not to rely on any one client for 90% of your profit, because one random change (e.g. they hire a new manager with a bug up his ass) could suddenly make them go away.

     



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    @poopdeville said:

    Wow what a bitch. Pretty common for your kind though

    Thanks! But I bet you'd never found yourself quite literally pulling groping hands off your body and shoving the person away... on a first date. Actually it kind of sounds like maybe you were the groper. :-)

    This isn't what you said before. You said that your date was extremely lonely. There are lots of reasons for that, and most of them aren't good reasons to reject someone. In fact, a mature person might actually not even care about that, and try to get to know their date.



  • @poopdeville said:

    @jetcitywoman said:

    @poopdeville said:

    Wow what a bitch. Pretty common for your kind though

    Thanks! But I bet you'd never found yourself quite literally pulling groping hands off your body and shoving the person away... on a first date. Actually it kind of sounds like maybe you were the groper. :-)

    This isn't what you said before. You said that your date was extremely lonely. There are lots of reasons for that, and most of them aren't good reasons to reject someone. In fact, a mature person might actually not even care about that, and try to get to know their date.

    I don't think that was the point.  The point was that they were so lonely they would end up being annoying (groping, etc) or boring and need to be disposed of properly.  



  • @poopdeville said:

    @jetcitywoman said:

    It struck me today that they're like a bad date.  You know the kind where you don't realize the person is desparate (or extremely lonely) when you agree to the date?  But halfway through you find yourself trying to find ways to politely extricate yourself?

    Wow what a bitch. Pretty common for your kind though.

     

    You are an insufferable prick.



  • @poopdeville said:

    This isn't what you said before. You said that your date was extremely lonely. There are lots of reasons for that, and most of them aren't good reasons to reject someone. In fact, a mature person might actually not even care about that, and try to get to know their date

    Hmm, ok sorry about the bad metaphor then.  I thought it was apt, but truth to tell, it's only happened to me once or twice and I honestly don't know if it was loneliness or simple lack of social skills.  I don't reject someone just for being lonely.  I do reject them for invading my personal space on a first date, being way too clingy, pushy or even jealous.  On a FIRST DATE?  WTF?  Maybe it's a bad metaphor because few men have had that experience.  I dunno.

    But anyway, this isn't a dating site.  This customer just made me think of that because they're really very personable and nice.  Too nice to be mean to.  But the fact is that if I respond to them too quickly or too well, they start taking swift advantage and driving me nuts.  If I brought it up to them directly, I bet they'd say something like "but we just love you thaaat much!". 

    Now I realize that people build bonds.  We definitely have customers who favor particular programmers and always approach them first with problems and questions.  That's natural.  What peeves me is that this customer takes it to such extremes.  My management won't do anything about it, so I'm doing what I can by not responding to them quickly and trying to politely force them into the proper channels.

    You have to understand,  I'm very happy to answer the quick question unrelated to my job, or help them out with quick little things or whatever simply to be nice.  I'm great at customer service and I'm super-responsive.  I'm a nice person.  In this one case, I'm a nice person who is being doormatted and trying to stop it.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    You are an insufferable prick.

    no u 



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    I'm a nice person who is being doormatted and trying to stop it.
    Try tough-love or malicious-compliance.



  • @Volmarias said:

    @poopdeville said:
    @jetcitywoman said:

    It struck me today that they're like a bad date.  You know the kind where you don't realize the person is desparate (or extremely lonely) when you agree to the date?  But halfway through you find yourself trying to find ways to politely extricate yourself?

    Wow what a bitch. Pretty common for your kind though.

    Sounds like this rang a bit too true for someone's taste.

    Anyway, have you considered charging more for support from this person?

    Also, Octopus Hands? What the hell is this?

     

     

    LOL! Octupus hands refers to a guy who can't keep his fucking hands off of you.  In other words, invading that very delicate personal space where people don't like to be touched.  Where I used to work, we referred to our local octupus hands guy as "The Serial Groper." 


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @jetcitywoman said:

    We definitely have customers who favor particular programmers
    From personal experience, this is a WTF.

     Customers (no matter how small your business) should never have direct access to the people doing the programming (excluding the case where lowlifeprogrammer == owner)



  • @PJH said:

    @jetcitywoman said:

    We definitely have customers who favor particular programmers
    From personal experience, this is a WTF.

     Customers (no matter how small your business) should never have direct access to the people doing the programming (excluding the case where lowlifeprogrammer == owner)

     

     

    Thank you god!  Where I used to work, the owners believed in an open-door policy for everyone including development.  They hated to think that the employees would view us as being treated special.  So, we had every Tom, Dick, and Clueless asshole in our room complaining and telling us there is a bug in the software.  Many times, they would complain that it's a bug when it really was a business rule setup by their department head.  The good side to this was we got to laugh at people a lot and most of them had their own creative nicknames.



  • @PJH said:

    @jetcitywoman said:

    We definitely have customers who favor particular programmers
    From personal experience, this is a WTF.

     Customers (no matter how small your business) should never have direct access to the people doing the programming (excluding the case where lowlifeprogrammer == owner)

     

    True.

    Why are clients calling you directly? Let them ring support, their account manager, or their project manager. I personally don't want to talk with clients. As in, at all.



  • Mmm, that would be nice. But as I said in the OP, my job consists of both new software development and customer support. When I'm not busy with projects, I'm supposed to take on help desk logs. I don't actually have to answer the helpdesk phone or carry a pager (thank god!), though. To a certain extent when implementing modifications or fixing bugs for customers talking to them is necessary. It's only a problem when they start thinking they can talk to us directly all the time. And yes that IS a problem because right now we have spineless management. Which of course is the source of the problem.



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    @poopdeville said:

    This isn't what you said before. You said that your date was extremely lonely. There are lots of reasons for that, and most of them aren't good reasons to reject someone. In fact, a mature person might actually not even care about that, and try to get to know their date

    Hmm, ok sorry about the bad metaphor then.  I thought it was apt, but truth to tell, it's only happened to me once or twice and I honestly don't know if it was loneliness or simple lack of social skills.  I don't reject someone just for being lonely.  I do reject them for invading my personal space on a first date, being way too clingy, pushy or even jealous.  On a FIRST DATE?  WTF?  Maybe it's a bad metaphor because few men have had that experience.  I dunno.

    Men have that experience all the time. So I can definitely relate to turning down pushy people. The 'loneliness'-way-of-putting-it got to me, for personal reasons.



  • Dates? Those dried plums? Oh you mean like courtship ...

    Sheesh we don't get dates we spend all our free time in our parents basements writing [url=http://99-bottles-of-beer.net/language-perl-737.html]perl code shaped like beer bottles[/url]

    :-) 



  • @Lingerance said:

    @jetcitywoman said:
    I'm a nice person who is being doormatted and trying to stop it.
    Try tough-love or malicious-compliance.

    In a pinch add in, bad phones or while your talking to them, hang the phone up. (But whatever you do don't pause while doing so, it is best mid sentence and mid word).

    Another is selective hearing.



  • @Lysis said:

    LOL! Octupus hands refers to a guy who can't keep his fucking hands off of you.  In other words, invading that very delicate personal space where people don't like to be touched.  Where I used to work, we referred to our local octupus hands guy as "The Serial Groper." 

     Hehe... what I did with that guy was gave him a solid shove away from me... and he actually ended up on the floor. This was in a crowded bar... I haven't had that problem there again :D

     



  • @dhromed said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    You are an insufferable prick.

    no u 

     

     

    LOL!  Warcraft player, obviously. 



  • @PJH said:

    @jetcitywoman said:

    We definitely have customers who favor particular programmers
    From personal experience, this is a WTF.

     Customers (no matter how small your business) should never have direct access to the people doing the programming (excluding the case where lowlifeprogrammer == owner)

     

     

    Our business is an exception, but then our clients' systems are about 99% stock package from $OTHER_COMPANY and 1% custom stuff from us.  It would most definitely be a WTF if they had unlimited direct access to $OTHER_COMPANY, and $OTHER_COMPANY limits and bills for direct access to it accordingly.

     



  • @medialint said:

    Dates? Those dried plums? Oh you mean like courtship ...

    Ummm a date is not a dried plum... it's just a date, or if it's dried then it's a dried date...



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    ...To which they reply they're having trouble and can you help me...

    When somebody has a specific question, they'll ask the specific question.  When somebody asks for generic "help", it either means that they want you to do it for them, or they want you to describe each and every click and key press in graphic detail.  Either way, it's a red flag.

    I think of those people as more as small children than as bad dates.  They're not being deliberately manipulative, they're just consumed entirely by whatever thing they want right now and are completely oblivious to anything else.  And, just like small children in such situations, their mental state makes it completely impossible for them to process new information.  It's a situation you want to avoid, because while parents can just smack those kids or lock them in their rooms, your clients are the ones paying your bills.

    That's why you have Client Execs/Analysts/Customer Service/etc.  They're glorified social workers, paid specifically to deal with the neuroses of others.  It's a full-time job; you may think you can do it during your off-hours, but it will eventually expand across your entire work schedule.



  • @gremlin said:

    Ummm a date is not a dried plum... it's just a date, or if it's dried then it's a dried date...

     

    I realized that ... I was thinking of prunes. Both are things you see a lot of around the xmas holiday but neither I'll eat ...

     


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.