Your Totally Unreasonable Customer

Customers make such unreasonable demands. How dare they?

Don’t they know how busy we are? Don’t they know there are only so many hours in the day? Don’t they know we are doing the best we can?

Here follows a list of the most unreasonable demands I’ve ever heard from customers:

1. They want projects completed ahead of schedule.

2. They want their project put at the front of your priority list.

3. They want more value than they paid for.

4. They want you to create something no one else has seen before.

5. They want the best work you’ve ever done.

6. They want you to fulfill every promise.

7. They want it done when you said it would be done, despite life sometimes getting in the way.

8. They want your input on business struggles that go above and beyond what they are technically paying for.

9. They want you to answer their phone call. No matter the time.

10. They want you to respond to their email soon after they send it.

11. They want you to jump through hoops to fix a problem.

12. They want fresh, new ideas.

13. They will take their time, but want you to move at lightning speed.

14. They want to prove ROI almost instantly.

15. They want to see dramatic improvement across all key performance indicators. Immediately.

16. They want an unlimited amount of revisions on graphic design, despite wanting to pay a low price for that design.

17. They want an unlimited amount of service calls to troubleshoot problems long after your role in the launch implementation has passed.

18. They want discounts, just because, you know, they are who they are.

19. They change the project scope at will, but expect the original timeline to be met.

20. Project scope creep, but expect the original budget to be kept.


You’ve made these kinds of demands before, haven’t you?

Yeah. Me too…

OK, so maybe these demands aren’t that unreasonable after all?

So…it obviously goes without saying that the above list, while perhaps unreasonable in some eyes, is really a cheat sheet on how to give your customers the “wow” experience they deserve.

Sure, sometimes demands are in fact unreasonable. But that’s your fault. You need to set boundaries, you need to set expectations, and you need to set up a communication process where both sides are on the same page, and clear what is happening with the engagement. And when.

You have to communicate when expectations become out of sync. And you have to do it fast. Sometimes, they don’t even realize they are doing it.

[Or they do, but are just seeing how far they can push. They stop when called on it.]

Yeah, you should ALWAYS seek to exceed expectations. You should ALWAYS seek to improve your customer’s experience…at every possible touchpoint. And you should EMPOWER your people to do so without jumping through hoops.

But you should also manage your customer’s expectations so that you don’t create an environment where they expect too much, something you could never possibly deliver on.

Hopefully, you are good at what you do. And getting better. But you are also not Superman, and sometimes, you simply cannot perform miracles…

Sign-up for my customer experience newsletter, TheCustomerDaily, and get some ideas on how to rock your customer’s experience!


Drawing by Hugh.

  • Clint Wilson

    Love these points Todd and so true, ”
    [Or they do, but are just seeing how far they can push. They stop when called on it.]” You must be willing to stand firm or walk away to get the business. It’s Zen’ish but very effective.

  • Todd Schnick

    if you don’t, your work won’t be meaningful and satisfying. and you are allowed to enjoy your work….

  • Jobs in UAE , UAE Jobs

    Yes customers want best work because they pay some amount of
    money those all points are true, if we become good businessman or professional so
    we should do follow customer’s wants.

  • Todd Schnick

    i agree. that’s kind of the point of the post, in providing a road map how to WOW customers… but there is still value in managing expectations…

  • Clint Wilson

    So true:)