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Why Your Worst Customer Isn’t Worth It

It’s not you, it’s me. I just don’t see this working out in the future. We’ve got different goals and they don’t line up. Sound familiar? Chances are you’ve had some part in these rejection lines, either as the rejector or the rejected. And no matter how they come, it still hurts. Oftentimes it’s the customers who are the ones that do the rejecting. But have you wanted to “fire” one of your customers?

Sure, you don’t want to turn away every customer because after all, they generate the revenue. But sometimes if the customer causes enough problems they may not be worth your time. You could already be losing money by offering more services than the problem customer is paying for, or by spending too much time on that customer when you could be helping twice as many new customers. So keep reading to find out why it’s okay to let your customer go if they’re giving you a bad vibe, and how to go about giving them the boot the right way.

How Do I Know If They’re Worth Keeping?
Maybe the customer treats your staff poorly. Maybe they talk to you in a condescending tone, take up all of your time on the phone for no reason or they don’t cooperate with anything that you do. But business is business, right? Wrong.

Envision your worst customer. Determine if the customer is worth your time by weighing your options. Make a list of the cons that would result in giving up their business, like a decrease in revenue. Then, make a list of pros, such as a stress-free environment or time to focus on other customers. If in the end you can afford to lose them, it’s probably in your best interest.

How Do I Fire Them?
A contract is a contract, and if you want to maintain your reputation you need to treat this like the delicate situation that it is. Like we said, rejection is never easy. And although you’d love to give them a piece of your mind, refrain for the sake of your business. Here are some suggestions from business expert Carol Tice that will help you let them down easy while still getting the point across.

Send Them Elsewhere
It’s time to figure out what the problem is and who could better suit the customer. Maybe you simply don’t have enough time to work with them, but you know another company that may be better suited. Finish the services that you have agreed to provide. Then, when they come back for more simply let them know that you’re at capacity, but you know of a place that would be happy to fulfill their request.

Tell Your Prices to Take a Hike
If you don’t feel that you’re being paid enough for working with the customer, simply raise your rates for them. While the customer may always be right, you have the option to set the price. If your customer doesn’t like it, then they’ll go elsewhere on his own.

Remind Them of Your Terms
A customer who consistently demands more than what was originally agreed upon is not a customer you need to keep. Gently remind the customer about the original contract and explain to them that it will take more time and cost them more. If your customer doesn’t get the picture, tell them that you will not be able to continue providing services. If you provide ample warning, you will be justified in your actions by citing specific examples of when they’ve overstepped their bounds.

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