Your Worst Customer

Every day I think about a lesson learned over the past 48 hours–a real life-lesson I can apply to my life and share with you. Here is what I thought about today…


I am still unhappy with my experience flying Delta recently. I paid an up-charge for a seat that was double-booked (and it was not refunded to me). I was stuck behind a crying, stinky baby (not Delta’s fault, except I should not have been in that seat but rather in the seat I paid for). The air conditioning unit on the plane went out and we were stuck on the tarmac for nearly an hour as the temperature rose until the mechanics could arrive and turn the unit off and then back on, which worked. The worst part, though, was that once we were in the air, they made us listen to a 2-minute promotion for some airline credit card. Forcing a captive audience to hear your scammy sales pitch has to be a new low in Marketing. What a shame.

I have been debating trying to contact Delta about my experience (I did tweet about it as it was happening) but the thing is, I am rather busy. I am writing this blog, I work full-time, and I have hobbies and social obligations. In the end, sending a letter potentially into limbo is not worth my time, and that got me thinking…

Your worst customer is not the one who keeps coming back and complaining. Your worst customer is not the one your employees dread as soon as they see them walk through the door. It is not the customer you avoid. It is not even the customer who is trying to scam you.

Your worst customer is the one that never comes back.

How many sales have you (or your team or your company) let slip through the cracks? How many people have had a bad experience but never tell you about it? They tell everyone else when it comes up in conversation, but they never take the time to tell you because they are too busy, tired, or ambivalent about it? After all, there are a lot of other airlines and choices out there.

Get to know your worst customers before they get to forget about you.