We all encounter the occasional customer whom we simply cannot please, no matter how hard we try. These individuals can be soul destroying. I have had a couple of clients like this and, for whatever reason, the relationships were always strained. I never enjoyed any of the work I did for them and I spent countless hours lying awake in bed at night wondering what to do about it.
One day it dawned on me that the best thing I could do was to be honest and tell the clients how I felt, which I did. I also told them that while I appreciated their business, I felt that I couldn't give them the service or the products they needed and I gave them a list of other companies that I suggested they deal with.
I found this incredibly empowering. Instead of dreading doing work for these organizations, we simply parted company. It wasn't personal; it was just a decision that was made for all the parties involved. The 99 per cent of my clients that I have had wonderful relationships with over many years give me confidence that the work performed by my company is of a very high standard. But it is a simple fact that you can't keep all of the people happy all of the time.
I believe that customer service is a lot about honesty and openness with the people who do business with your organization. Sometimes things won't work out, which is OK. Move on, but move on nicely. Don't mess difficult customers around simply because you don't like dealing with them.
Great customer service is knowing how to sack a customer and still be friends afterwards--a truly elusive yet wonderful goal.