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Dealing With Crazy Customers?

I have a software  and one of my channel for sale is through a private section of another website.

The problem is that I have a customer that requested a feature which is unreasonable and I told him that we can't deliver such feature, since then he has been on my neck on the private section of that website demanding that I must add such feature.

The customer contacted many potential buyers to not buy, saying my product is useless. He has managed to bring in two other customers who also don't like my product and they have ganged up against me, they have cost me thousands in lost revenue this past week, I had to bring down the sales page in that private section until I figure out what to do.

I requested the instigating customer to provide his order details for a refund but I think he does not have one or he thinks getting a refund will make him loose the power to make demands, the other customer that joined him have opened a dispute so it's not possible to refund them until dispute is settled.

Now I want to reopen the sales page but I know they will be back, how in the world do I handle this situation, should I just ignore them?

How do you deal with customers that are ready to destroy your business and will not leave you alone?
Mike Johnson Send private email
Sunday, October 13, 2013
 
 
Refund and then ignore and move on.

I don't understand how they could have contacted your other customers.

If they annoy you on websites that you control, block their IP address. Employ some form of hellbanning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellbanning) e.g. when they visit your website, show an error page that looks like your website is broken (e.g. "Website exceeded allowed bandwidth. Please contact website provider to resolve the problem"). Basically make them think there's a technical error.

I once made a (free) English dictionary for Palm and some crazy person e-mailed me threatening to sue me because the dictionary had "bad" words in it. I wisely reined in my instinct to respond detailing how crazy they are and instead responded with a text that looked like an error message ("Error 5023: this account is no longer active" or some such). I've never heard from them again. It's a cheap but effective trick.

The main point in dealing with crazy people is that as soon as you detect craziness - disengage and make it look like it's impossible to contact you. Crazy people are immune to arguments so don't even try and most are even energized by opposition. Don't feed the trolls.

You can't help if they badmouth you on their own website, but majority of them won't have them, so just hellban them on your own website and any other communication channel. If they can't contact you and they think it's due to a technical issue, they'll go away.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Sunday, October 13, 2013
 
 
Krzysztof Kowalczyk - Thanks. But what about situation where you sell on thirdparty website where you don't have access to ban IP?
Mike Johnson Send private email
Sunday, October 13, 2013
 
 
+1 to Krzysztof

You can't reason with unreasonable people. And giving in to bullies will just invite more bullying.

>But what about situation where you sell on thirdparty website where you don't have access to ban IP?

Contact the third party website and ask them to ban them.
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, October 14, 2013
 
 
>He has managed to bring in two other customers who also don't like my product and they have ganged up against me

If there are 3 of them complaining (assuming it isn't the same person with 3 accounts) are you sure they don't have a legitimate grievance?
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, October 14, 2013
 
 
This sort of thing has come up on this forum before, and one point that was mentioned was that normal/good customers can, to some extent, understand that there are crazy people out there and so if you have many positive testimonials  and a few over-the-top negative ones, it almost could lend *more* credence to your product, since the only negative on there will be psychologically 100% discounted/written off as insane. 

Do you also have a way to address the rants in that "forum" and give a counterpoint?  That may allay some of the normal customers' concerns. 

And what's the deal with a sales page that allows customers to communicate with each other?  That right there seems like a potentially bad idea for the sellers (though I can understand the customers wanting it...it's very Web 3.0...or whatever we're up to now!)

At least you're making thousands a week in good moments.  That's awesome.
Racky Send private email
Monday, October 14, 2013
 
 
They said the product is not good for them.

I contacted some other customers to know their view and they said the product is good.
Mike Johnson Send private email
Monday, October 14, 2013
 
 
I have request them to be banned, but at the moment they are not.

I just want to keep my calm when they come back.
Mike Johnson Send private email
Monday, October 14, 2013
 
 
Sympathy post.

This is a stressful situation and there's no single solution that works for all cases.

Some tips for staying sane:

- just stop reading their comments for a while
- ban yourself from their forum
- don't respond to their emails
- don't let them get you to the point where you lose your shit and tell them what you really think of them
Scott Send private email
Monday, October 14, 2013
 
 
"I told him that we can't deliver such feature, since then he has been on my neck on the private section of that website demanding that I must add such feature."

Tell him you've reconsidered but it'll cost $10,000 upfront for time and development due to it being a custom addition.  Then it'll be time for him to put up or shut up.  He'll either pay or go away; you win no matter what.

"I want to reopen the sales page but I know they will be back"

So mention on the Sales page that custom additions and suggestions are considered but for a price, so other potential buyers can see you're willing rather than flatly saying "no" like the customer is saying.  This makes the customer look like the foolish ignorant one; not you.
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, October 14, 2013
 
 
"Refund and then ignore and move on" -- The OP said he can't refund while a dispute is open.  This sounds weird; I'd have thought a refund would trump/close any dispute process immediately.
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, October 14, 2013
 
 
Same as with a crazy ex: block and move on.

So with the crazy customer, I'd just ban their IP and ignore their emails.
Bring back anon Send private email
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
 
 
PSB136, I would not want to have any further dealings with someone who has been that nasty.  It is just setting oneself up for another drama.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
 
 
The first customer did not even want a refund, when I requested his order number he refused.

I think he feels if he get's a refund he will loose the power or something, all he wants is that I do what he says.

Thank you all for your contributions.
Mike Johnson Send private email
Thursday, October 17, 2013
 
 
Is this person willing to pay for the feature?
I bill it out at $100/hour, give them an estimate of the work done.  About 30% of the time, they actually go for it.

It's fair to tell people that nobody else is requesting this feature. If you need it, I'll be glad to put someone on it, but here's what it will cost.  If you're willing to foot the bill in advance, or if you'll buy 100 licenses, then I'll gladly do it.

Customization is somewhere between 5-10% of our revenue. It's nice to get someone else to pay for the development. Usually it won't take more than a week or two to finish off the requests we get.  I have said "no" outright to projects that would consume my team for months, just because of the disruption to the product cycle. But generally, a week here or there, I can sandwich it in at $100/hour.
Darren Send private email
Friday, October 18, 2013
 
 

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