Would You Fire This Customer? (Part 2)
My last blog post on "Would You Fire This Customer?" attracted some great responses and a request to share what to say to a customer once you've decided to sever the relationship.
Today, I'm going to share with you a simple strategy for disengaging with those crazy customers—the ones that can ruin your days and give you sleepless nights.
First, I want to share with you some of the interesting comments that I received (via email) from promotional products distributors just like you. Can you relate?
"Yes, I have had to fire an account. Worked with this gentleman on a commemorative plate with (at least) a zillion color intricate design - he repeatedly changed the design to the point where our quoted supplier was unable to prepare it in time for the event date. Client threatened to sue us if we could not deliver timely. We scrambled for a different supplier who would then prepare a decal for the plate within 4 days. A few weeks go by and he calls - wants to order items for his church. We then tell him that we are not in the habit of working with people who threaten law suits, thank you very much and good bye."
"I tried to fire one this week and they would not go away! After one too many emotional outbursts from contact I replied to his e- mail's subject line 'cancel the order'. I told him that his new vendor could use the artwork we had prepared to date; I had voided the work order and written off our fees. Two hours later another contact from the company called indicating that she was the new contact and would very much like to continue working with us. "
"I absolutely LOVE this topic. Thank you! I just had a client treat my invoice like she was couponing and paid only what she thought she could get away with. It took 3 checks, all the UPS and factory documentation, and 2 months to get all of her invoice covered as she decided to give herself discounts by claiming she never received items. Now, my question is: How do you disengage from this type of client? Thank you for your wisdom!"
Although there are many ways to get rid of crazy customers here's my number one suggestion. I'm a big believer in honest, open communication: tell the customer politely and professionally that you feel your services are not the right fit for their needs and recommend that they go elsewhere. As you can see from one of the responses above this may sometimes have a surprising result.