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Should You Ditch That Nightmare Client?

Should You Ditch That Nightmare Client

Try to resolve conflicts with difficult clients if they don’t work.

  • The old saying “The customer is always right” may not always be true. Clients who are unreasonable and demanding can make it impossible to spend your time.
  • Try to resolve conflicts diplomatically before you let clients go. Use tactful, open communication strategies.
  • Be honest, professional and polite when you end a client relationship.
  • This article was written for service-based entrepreneurs who are faced with difficult clients and need to decide whether or not to end the relationship.– Many service-based businesses have had to deal with a horrible client. The client makes unreasonable demands on your team and demands that they be met immediately. They won’t pay on time and don’t respect the due dates on invoices. This client is either rude or incapable of communicating with you.

While the old saying “The customer is always right” may be true, some clients might not be worth your time. Even though you might be reluctant to “fire” a client, it could be in your long-term best interests.

Here are some tips on how to handle difficult clients, when it’s time for you to move on, and how to communicate politely and professionally.

How to resolve diplomatically conflicts with clients

It can be tempting to end a relationship with a client if you are fed up. While some clients can be irritating, it’s not a good idea to end the relationship with them so quickly. These are some tips to help you work things out with your client.

1. Find out the root cause of your nightmare client.

Take a step back and examine the situation to determine the root cause of the problem with your client. Is it really difficult to work with them or do they negatively impact your bottom line? Is it their personality?

There may be alternative arrangements if the problem is down to personalities clashing. You might consider having another member of your team take on the client’s lead role, or perhaps you could work with the individual to manage their behavior until the end.

2. Be firm with difficult clients.

Reassessing your client boundaries is a good idea. If you have a client that calls you all day, it may be necessary to remind them when you are available to answer their calls. Another example is if your client asks you for revisions or additional tasks, it might be a good idea to revisit the terms of the original contract.

It may suffice to gently but firmly assert your boundaries in order to save the working relationship. Refusing to respect your boundaries can signal that the client is ready to end the relationship.

3. Communicate openly and honestly with your client

Your clients won’t be able to read your mind. They will not know if you are upset by something they do unless you tell them. Pretending that everything is perfect is not a good idea.

You owe your client the honesty to disclose any issues you are having with your work relationship. This is especially important if you have a long-term client. In this case you will probably do all you can to fix the relationship.

How to tell when it is time to let go of a client

It’s time for you to part ways if your attempts to improve your working relationship fail.

WillowTree’s chief innovation officer Matt Dopkiss stated, “To have a long-term successful business relationship, both parties must be in a position where they can do their best work.” The frictions can cause the relationship to slow down if they become too strong. It’s something you know well in advance but are reluctant to admit. You try to rationalize, you make extra effort, and you stay positive. But once the chemistry has gone, it’s all over.

It’s not an easy decision to make. You should only end a business relationship if the customer is actively causing harm to your company. To decide whether you should stop working with a difficult customer, consider the following questions:

Is the client always expecting more but not increasing their budget?

Most small businesses operate with a limited budget. Geoff McQueen, CEO at Accelo, a professional services automation software company, said that if a client insists on paying more, it will make it difficult to keep the client.

Is the client prone to missing or rescheduling calls and meetings?

Dopkiss warns that communication breakdowns can be a sign of a troubled relationship. It is not something anyone wants to waste their time on, so be aware of a pattern that involves phone tag and last-minute cancellations.

Is it necessary to keep in touch with clients to receive payment?

Some clients might think that you are providing a service, and not a product for sale, so it is okay to not pay them immediately. McQueen stated that a late payment is acceptable, but clients who consistently miss their payment due dates can limit your ability pay your team and grow your company.

Are they stalling on the project or not giving feedback?

Dopkiss pointed out that clients may appear positive on the surface about your business relationship, but then place a project on hold indefinitely and stop responding. These situations can be detrimental to both the client and the company.

Is the client no longer listening to our advice?

Professional disagreements are part of business. A client might not like the approach your company recommended. However, you don’t want clients that fight you at all costs even though you were hired to help.

McQueen stated that “you’re going to take the blame if it doesn’t work, no matter what the circumstances are.” McQueen stated, “If they don’t listen to you, you will end up in a bad position no matter what.”

How to get rid of a client

If yes to any of the questions above, then you may want to think about ways to effectively separate yourself and your client. Be careful.

These are some ways to drop clients without affecting your business’ reputation.

1. You can get difficult clients to quit you first.

Amaze PBC founder and CEO David Silverstein said that firing clients is not good for a company’s culture or reputation. He recommends that clients are allowed to drop their jobs instead of being fired.

Silverstein explained to us that service businesses must take care of all clients and should learn how to make unhappy clients happy. Instead of dropping bad clients, create a strategy to make them ‘opt out’. You can create an opt out strategy by raising your price.

2. Talk openly and honestly with your client.

Sometimes the client will not leave if you raise your prices. It’s important to have an honest, open conversation with your client before you give them the keys.

McQueen suggested approaching the topic like any conflict-based negotiation. Be open about the problems your company has and explain why you don’t accept the current arrangement. You can try to reach an agreement with the client if they are willing. [Related to Tips for Sharpening Your Skills ]

Dopkiss said, “Explain the problem and propose an amicable separation. Offer to assist the client in the transition.” Sometimes they will accept your offer. Sometimes, they might surprise you and recommit to the relationship.

3. Maintain a professional attitude.

Be polite and professional if you have to part ways.

Dopkiss stated that it is important to be kind, respectful, sincere and compassionate during any type of separation. Don’t expect anything, just help the client make the transition as seamless and painless as possible. You can be a great partner for them until the end.

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