Once Upon a Time, I was Very Rude to A Customer

Once Upon a Time, I was Very Rude to A Customer

Once Upon a Time, I was Very Rude to A Customer

Once Upon a Time, I was Very Rude to A Customer

I would like to start off this blog with the words “We have all done it”, but I am not sure that everyone has actually done this!  In my business life, I have done it twice, so you would think I would have learned, but oh no, I needed to make the mistake a few times before it finally sunk in!  What am I talking about? The dreaded saying something about a client before you have put the phone down!

I remember the first time vividly.  Imagine the scene.  I was sitting at my desk whilst working as a Senior Recruiter for a local agency.  I had to calm down a mother whose son had been subject to an “initiation” at a local tyre manufacturing company.  Apparently, the new temps are grabbed by the current full-time members of staff and put into a long tube of tyres and they all then hit the tyres with anything they can grab nearby until the person manages to climb out.  Remember, this was the 1990s!  The mother was ranting on the phone for a good twenty minutes, and rightly so, but I was having my ear bashed as if it was all my fault.  She was using the most disgusting language, and I just took it.  At the end of the call, I put the phone down and rather than telling everyone in the room how awful it was for her son, I said out loud “Well, if I had a mother like that, then being in a stack of tyres would be paradise” (or something to that effect).  You know what is coming next… I look down and the phone is not quite on the cradle.  To my horror, I pick up the receiver and hear her ranting about me – I was in trouble!

That was 20 years ago and I still remember it well!

Then last year something similar happened.  I won’t go into details as they may read this blog, but they will recall the conversation instantly.  Before realizing that I had not yet put the phone down after a heated online meeting, I found myself swearing a few times (very unlike me!).  I wasn’t 100% sure if they had heard me or not, but I felt very guilty that they may have heard my rant!  I was thinking to myself “should I call them back to apologise, or should I just leave it?”.  As I didn’t really want to highlight my appalling behaviour, I decided that it was best left alone (half expecting them to cancel our contract).  Two days later I received a text message from them.  “Julia, I think we need to talk” – again, I was in trouble!

Lesson Learned

That call last year taught me a few valuable lessons in business.

  • Always speak with your clients if something is not working.  After that call, we had a very lengthy discussion.  I was prepared to lose the contract and I was actually feeling quite relieved that it was all going to be over.  The client was very demanding, and goal posts were constantly being moved.  All my staff were a little frustrated with them and we were all at the end of our tether.  BUT, after my faux pas, we had a very open and frank discussion.  I told them how we felt and what the problems were, and in return, they also highlighted some of their frustrations.   After that, they became one of the best clients to work with once all the issues had been raised and ironed out.
  • Never say a bad word about your client, supplier or staff.  Moaning about things does not fix things.
  • ALWAYS check that you have put the phone down after a call!  Sometimes, there may just be some banter in the office that your clients or even prospects should not really be listening to!


At Green Umbrella we only work with nice people.  You may be thinking to yourself “yeah, right!  They run a business, and they can’t be that choosy” – but it’s true.  We have a selection process for clients, suppliers, freelancers, and staff.  This IS the best way of making sure that we never said anything bad about our clients because we love them all dearly.







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