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How to Tell When It’s Time to Fire Your Customer
As a business owner, you’re scraping for every dollar you can. You would probably never dream of turning down a sale, even if the customer was a little rude or demanding. However, there’s no reason you have to work with every customer that comes into your business, and you have the right to fire even longstanding clients if they start to become too much to handle. How can you tell the difference between working on a tough project and dealing with an unreasonable client? Here are some signs it’s time to cut the cord.
Never Paying on Time
A client who takes months upon months to pay you is bad for your bottom line – period. While you should always have two to three months of safety income saved up to help get your business through a slow period, that’s not the point. Clients who routinely abuse your payment terms or need reminder after reminder before they cough up the cash are exhausting, rude, and ready to be dumped. Spend the time you’d usually spend tracking them down advertising your services instead to attract someone who won’t disrespect you.
Not Wanting to Pay at All
Even worse than the client who never pays on time is the client who always wants something for free. This customer wants to nickel and dime you on every invoice, demands to pay a set price no matter how many revisions they ask you to make, and always tries to force you down to your rock bottom price point. While it’s OK to take a loss on a client every once in a while to build up goodwill or make amends for a problem, if you’re continuously finding yourself in the red it’s time to tell your customer to take a hike. This type of client will cause you to second guess your entire pricing structure and start to convince you that your prices are too high. Don’t listen to them! It’s more than OK to let a customer go who isn’t willing to pay your prices. You know what you’re worth.
Failing to Respond to You
You pride yourself on timely responses, and when your customers send you an email or leave you a voicemail you make it a priority to get back to them. It’s infuriating, then, to sit and wait as the days go by and your client doesn’t reply. Your anxiety rises as your deadline creeps closer and closer, and still nothing but silence. A consistent failure to respond is a legitimate reason to fire a client. While they’re probably not intentionally ignoring you, a client who is too busy or disorganized to give your project the attention it deserves is not the right fit for you. Be up front about your expectations for communication and have clear consequences if expectations are not met. After all, it’s very hard to plan and schedule work for other clients if you have no idea when (or if) your customer will respond.
Asking Too Much of You
Some customers will just take and take and take, long past the point where such requests are reasonable. They may call you late at night or on the weekends, expect you to drop everything and help them out with last-minute tasks, or expect near-instant response times. It’s up to you to decide what’s reasonable and what’s not, but be wary of the slippery slope of just saying yes. Even if “it’s just a little more work,” remember that you’re setting the expectations for the next time. Unless you don’t mind being this client’s personal assistant, nip this kind of behavior in the bud.
Not Respecting Your Professional Expertise
There’s always that one customer who thinks they know everything there is to know about your industry, even though they have no experience with it. They proceed to try to dictate how you work, what you work on, and what the end product looks like without regard for your professional skills. Whether they mark up your proposals to the point where you wonder why you even bothered to draft one or refuse to listen to your suggestions, this type of client is not worth your time. You’ll end up feeling frustrated (and possibly even embarrassed) as you create a product that doesn’t make any sense but is what the customer wants. If the client is not willing to listen to what your years of experience have taught you, why did they seek your professional help in the first place?
It All Comes Down to Respect
Each one of these problem client behaviors boils down to a lack of respect for you and your work. There’s no shame in firing a customer that doesn’t value what you bring to the table and who sucks all the life out of your business in the process. The same goes for vendors and partners that you work with. Find vendors that really care about you and who are invested in your business’s success. At 360 Payments, we consider ourselves true partners who put your needs first. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you why we’re different from other credit card processors.
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