Dealing with Business Bullies
We occasionally get intransigent customers who want things fixed but do not want to cooperate with us. I had to politely tell one off last Friday. Today a self-important customer wanted to blame us for the failure of a third-party web server. After explaining what I saw, he responded that I “had no idea” how important he is. No big deal. I wrote back, explained with a little more detail, and closed with:
I would further request that you maintain a professional tone when interacting with our staff. We take pains to ensure consistent support to all of our customers. A condescending tone on your part does nothing to yield results, and only builds animosity in relationships with your business partners. I thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
As someone who has played the part of smarmy know-it-all bully, I can tell from experience that when someone calmly confronts you head-on, gives you a competent explanation, and then requests that you behave yourself, well, unless you got some seriously sociopathic issues, that works really damned well.
But, we’ll see. I could have laid it down a bit more politely …