How to handle and spot a “customer” who is wasting your time

The old aphorism “time is money” comes to mind when we find ourselves confronted with a “potential customer” who ticks all the boxes of a time waster. Someone once said, “Time is money and wasting time means wasting money”. The only instance when you should be wasting time is when it involves your loved ones and the people dear to you.

The internet and information age we are living in has made it easier for everyone to communicate. At a click of a button we can now communicate with businesses online and have immediate answers to our questions available. This also means people now have easier access to your time and if you don’t manage it well you will literally spend hours a day answering the same questions over and over because some people just do not respect others time and boundaries. One of the first things you need to know is that you will have many people who could and will definitely take every opportunity to waste your time.

Below is just some of our experiences with some of the most notorious time wasters.

  1. They ask for our catalogue and price list then proceed to ask us information that’s contained in the catalogue we just sent, i.e they want us to read the catalogue for them. We have just updated our catalogue with a Table of Contents for easier reference.
  2. Other time wasters ask for an invoice every couple of weeks or months but never make a payment.
  3. Some time wasters ask for help with logos since they don’t have one, once we provide them with the logo that they asked for, and that we spent several hours on, we never hear from them again. For this reason we have stopped our free graphic design service, which makes it difficult for clients who genuinely want to do business and need free access to a graphic designer if they cant afford one. The problems time wasters are causing are extremely insidious and have far reaching effects for genuine customers who are starting out and who want to keep the costs of starting a new business to a minimum. You will find some of the logos we have worked on for these types of time wasters up for grabs at the following blog post Perfume labels and logos to choose from. Many other logos are not included in the blog post due to the nature of the time wasters logo containing their branding.
  4. A few other time wasters ask for information that’s easily accessible from our website like our FAQ’s that have links available on every page on our website and blog. Once you have provided them with the FAQ’s link they insist you take the time to explain it to them in simpler terms because they find it “difficult to understand” or “I’m at work and cant read it now”
  5. “Customers” who are fishing for industry information.

It’s essential to limit time wasting caused by customers, especially if you started your business recently as every moment you have should be geared towards growing your business but also do it with friendly service and let the customer know if you can see they are generally not interested in reading the information you’ve already sent them.

  1. Filter out potential time wasters as soon as you recognise the signs, there are always tell tale signs.
  2. Always be as helpful as possible but if the customer continues to barrage you with questions you have already provided the answers for then you are potentially dealing with a time thief.
  3. Add a Frequently Asked Questions section to your website, blog or Facebook Business Page or a suitable place where you market your business the most.

Big companies no longer have quick access to speaking to a consultant or customer care with an actual human to speak too, think cell phone service providers. I can only surmise they have cottoned on too the fact that even if the information is easily available online people will still call in to speak to a consultant.

In the rare instance that a customer genuinely has a question that hasn’t been asked before, we update our Frequently Asked Questions on our website and blog immediately if we think that its information that other potential customers might find useful. Update information on your FAQ’s page regularly as this will cut out unnecessary questions which will free up your time to work on your business and will generally let potential customer know whether you can provide them with the service or product they are looking for. Based on the information contained in your Frequently Asked Questions section a potential customer will know if your business is what they are looking for.

Remember, someone can only waste your time when you let them.

Time is money
~Benjamin Franklin~

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