It is impossible for any business, no matter how adeptly managed it might be, to satisfy every customer that walks through its doors. There are too many people in the world who desire a wide variety of different services from a given business in order for a company to be prepared for whatever life throws at it. Business owners must accustom themselves to the fact that they will not be able to please every client, and failure to satisfy a particular customer does not denote failure or poor management on their part.
When a client becomes too difficult to handle, business owners must be prepared to let the customer go. However, many entrepreneurs do not realize that they will not lose money by ‘firing’ a troublesome client. In fact, doing so will actually maximize a business’s profits.
The Economics of Firing a Customer
Businesses should view every company-to-client relationship in the same manner that they approach all of their other monetary functions. Every client that a company deals with is a source of potential revenue. When a customer’s demands become too arduous for the company to handle, the business will usually earn more money by halting all relations with the client rather than pursuing a frustrating, complicated task.
A difficult client is simply not worth a business’s time and effort. A company will almost certainly be able to locate customers who are more manageable and consequently more profitable; in a sense, by wasting its time with an overly demanding customer, a business is sacrificing the greater profits that it could have achieved had it used its time to deal with compliant customers instead.
Although it seems counterintuitive to most people, it is sometimes more profitable to sacrifice an entire source of revenue than to exert excess energy in pursuing it. All business owners must learn restraint in maintaining their client relationships.
Identifying ‘Problem’ Customers
A number of different attributes can cause a customer to be an unprofitable burden to a company. Business owners should keep the following traits in mind whenever they deal with clients; if a customer displays these characteristics, then the business owner should reassess the clients values in respect to his or her company’s welfare.
Excessive Stubbornness and Unwillingness to Compromise
Neither the business owner nor the customer plays a dominant role in the company-to-client relationship. All businesses must be willing to compromise and negotiate with their customers; this is the only way to ensure that all parties involved feel that their needs are being met in a fair and efficient manner. However, customers owe businesses the same level of respect in acknowledging the business’s goals and desires. While a customer will undoubtedly attempt to sway any relationship as far in his or her favor as possible, the client should also be willing to compromise on a few key issues. If a customer demands certain criteria rather than requests to discuss them rationally, a business should be cautious in proceeding with the relationship.
It is impossible for a business to profit from a relationship if it must constantly hunt down the clients that generate its funds. Companies can waste an incredible amount of time sending unanswered emails, making unreturned calls, and setting up unattended meetings with irresponsible customers. Business owners should also take note of any clients who are consistently late or who do not fulfill their promises. For every unreliable customer that requests a business’s services, there are five trustworthy ones who will greatly boost a company’s bottom line.
Some customers are impossible to please. All businesses should obviously do their best to meet the needs and requests of all of their clients; however, some customers expect to obtain one hundred percent of a business’s time and attention, and these customers will oftentimes cause a scene if they feel that they are not being attended to with the utmost care. Business owners must remember that their company’s profits come first. If a customer’s demands are overly taxing to a company, then the business should not pursue a relationship with that client.
Firing a Client
Business owners should only fire customers with extreme caution. All factors involved in the client-to-company relationship should be closely scrutinized; precise calculations should be prepared regarding the customer’s profitability to the business, and all workers who deal with the customer on a regular basis should be asked for a careful assessment of the client’s merits.
However, if a business decides that a particular customer is detrimental to its welfare, then the company should never hesitate to fire the client. The customer should simply be informed in a rational manner that further relations would be damaging to the company’s future. If this task is handled professionally, then the business will be able to proceed confidently with its other client relationships.