A Bagful of Dentures

Manydenturetypes A dentist client told me last week that if a new patient shows up with a zip-lock baggie containing half-a-dozen sets of old dentures, it signals the beginning of a rough relationship. The patient is wordlessly communicating to the dentist that no other dentist has ever made him happy and it is now his turn to prove that no dentist ever will.

These are the customers/patients who will sap your energy with whining, drain your valuable time and resources and then complain about you after they have finally defeated you and found their next victim/vendor/doctor.

Last year we saw Best Buy unroll their strategy to separate their Angel customers from their Devils. I thought it was a super effort. I’d like to read about a followup.
In consulting, it’s the business owner who complains about the poor advice he’s received from every other consultant he’s retained over the past 10 years. He expects me to rise above the crowd. At a car dealership, it could be someone who tells you that she always ends up buying a lemon. Potential employees will recite a litany of lousy bosses.
What do you do with customers or potential customers whom you can identify (or who self-identify) as problems before they ever buy from you?
My advice is to politely send them away. I’ve even helped clients design ‘anti-personas’ to help make their web site unattractive to problem customers and to help their sales staff see the bag of dentures before the customer walks in the door.
(Disclaimer: It is not my intention to disparage denture wearers. I was a huge fan of Martha Ray. I’m sure that there are denture wearers out there with legitimate complaints who really have been unable to find a single competent dentist who cares enough to solve their unique problems. I am sure there is a dentist who can help. I wish I knew his name so I could refer you. Just keep trying. Best of luck to you and Godspeed.)

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