How to Fire a Customer: When and How to End a Working Relationship
As a business owner, you want to achieve a long and successful relationship with your clients.
However, sometimes, despite your best efforts, a client relationship may turn out to be a bad fit, causing adverse effects on your business.
In such cases, it may be time to learn how to fire a customer gracefully.
In this article, we’ll discuss why, when, and how to terminate a business relationship without causing damage or stress to your business.
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Carlos Experience Firing a Customer
This was an experience I never thought it was possible, to fire a customer, and telling her that I did not wanted her as a customer.
In the furniture store of the family, a customer came to the store, and spent around 3 to 4 hours in the store.
Indecisive customers are reasonable, but this was not certainly a reason to fire her.
After she did the first purchase, the very next day the customer came before the delivery was done to do a change on her order.
Ok, it is still not a reason to mark her as a bad client.
That day she again stayed long time in the store to decide which other dinning set to choose, and finally she chose a marmor dinning set.
The product was delivered and couple days after, the customer called stating that the marmor was broken and she wanted to change it.
And actually, there are some marmor table pieces that sometimes when pulished, some are not 100% smooth and it keeps some lines, which was the case.
But nevertheless, we accepted to do the change, but when she came to the store she started complaining about we should take care of our products and send only good product, which in fact in that statement she is right, and we noted to her that some marmour table might came with those lines.
Still, she kept complaining that we should give a look to the products before delivering, which I answered, “well, in that case, in our documents it is stated that you should also have a look that the product is in good conditions and that you accept it as it is.” Which generated a reaction on the customer starting to say bad words in mexican spanish “Esas son chingaderas” which could be a “that is bullshit”, and certainly when her tone was elevated, I also raised my voice and asked her to avoid saying such words and that she must conduct in a good manner, as we were being respectful with her.
Immediately she noted to be embarrased and change it stating to be “joking”.
But at that point the customer was already becoming a pain in the ass to me.
She was not able to decide which new dinning set to choose, so she was going to came back next day.
The very next day she choose to take another marmour table, and I showed her the different marmour pieces she could choose from, and she asked if the one she was looking was white, which I didn’t answer, and she keept looking the marmour and actually she was watching a color beige one.
She agreed after observing them, so I did the paperwork to change for the new chosen table. Right after I finished the paperwork, I asked her to confirm that the one she was looking is the one she wanted, where she stated, yes.
So we delivered the new table and went to pick up the previous one, but once we put the new table at her place, she complained it was not white.
Which immediately cut my cords, and it was enough for me to be wasting time with this customer, so I told her that I asked her twice that if the one she was looking is the one she wanted. I told that I acknowledged that she asked for a white one, but that I did not answer yes or no. I took the decision to cancel the order and told her that I did not want her anymore as a client.
We picked up the tables and came back to the store, and just right after we left the place I saw a car license plate with an 888, which if you know a bit of numerology and angel numbers, it means to trust the universe, and it has a message of abundance, prosperity and material wealth.
There are hidden costs when dealing with some clients, and the time spent with the client, the paperworks to be done, and trips to do the exchanges of products are some, but specially gaining mental peace is one of them.
Sure, as entrepreneurs the idea is to sell, sell and sell, but when there are more issues on the table where you are being affected due to a bad customer, in my opinion it is better to fire a bad client.
It is not about entirely about the income, but about taking care about the mental state that can be deteriorated due to a bad customer relationship.
So as experience, don’t worry if you have to let go a problematic client, there will be more opportunities for another businesses with better customers.
Why Should You Consider Firing a Client?
Identifying a Problematic Client
The first step in identifying a problematic client is to examine the client relationship and deliverables.
If there are frequent revisions, late payments, changes in requirements, and miscommunication, it may be an indication that the client is not a good fit for your business.
Another indicator is when the client does not meet the terms of service.
When Deliverables Are Not Met
If the client consistently does not meet the agreed deliverables or work standards, it may be time to let them go. Moreover, it can lead to a lack of confidence in your business, resulting in a decrease in the quality of your work.
When the Client Relationship is Toxic
In situations where the client becomes problematic or toxic, it can cause a significant amount of stress and psychological drain on your employees and yourself. Additionally, it can also have a detrimental effect on the quality of work you deliver to your other clients.
When Is the Right Time to Fire a Client?
When the Client is Consistently Unhappy
When a client is consistently unhappy and dissatisfied, it may be time to evaluate whether the relationship is beneficial for both parties.
Consistently, unhappy clients can impact your business reputation and morale.
When It's Affecting Your Business
If a bad client relationship is affecting your business’s productivity and profitability, it may be time to take action.
Try to work with the client to resolve the situation, but if they remain uncooperative, firing them may be necessary.
When You've Tried Everything Else
If you have exhausted all other options, and the client relationship is still causing problems, it may be time to consider termination.
This decision may be difficult, but it could help your business move forward.
How to Fire a Client Gracefully?
Deliver the News Personally
When it comes to letting a client go, you should deliver the news personally. A phone call or video call is preferred, though an email is also acceptable if necessary. This way, you can explain the reasons behind the decision and express your regret while maintaining professionalism.
Be Honest and Professional
When firing a client, be honest about the reasons why you are doing so, while maintaining a professional tone. Be courteous and empathetic when delivering the news.
Offer Referrals and Recommendations
Offering referrals and recommendations to the client can leave the door open for future opportunities and diminish any negative impact on your business. It can also improve the client relationship and result in good references and reviews.
What Happens After You Fire a Customer?
Assessing the Impact on Your Business
It’s essential to evaluate the impact on your business after terminating the relationship, including any loss or damage caused by the client. This assessment will help you understand your next steps and minimize the potential adverse effects.
Moving Forward with Your Next Client
Moving forward, it’s crucial to be cautious and mindful in selecting future clients. Ensure that they are a good fit for your business, and avoid repeating any previous mistakes.
Learning from the Experience
It’s vital to reflect on the situation and examine how it could have been handled differently. Learning from the experience can help you avoid similar situations in the future.
Firing a client is never an easy decision. However, sometimes, it is necessary for the benefit of your business.
By identifying problem clients and knowing the appropriate time to let them go, you can maintain a good business relationship and ensure the success of your business.
Certainly, firing a customer comes with the time being in a business and it is not usual, but a working experience idea that probably few might think that it would happen, but it does.