In last week’s blog I made the radical suggestion that some customers can have a negative impact on your online business. They are a specific type of customer that zap your business’s resources, energy and time. Fortunately they are few and far between but every company has at some point has come into contact with them.
So, what can we do?
Well, this may seem radical but the best and simplest thing you can do is fire them.
It might be a painful experience initially but it is a necessary pain so that you can create some space in your company to acquire a more profitable and less demanding customer to whom you can give a higher quality service.
Now please beware: It is entirely possible to convince yourself that the money they bring makes having bad customers worthwhile but when you calculate the additional costs (time, impacts on your other customers, management overhead, loss of marketing opportunity, potential bad PR, etc.) it invariably works out not to be the case.
If you’ve ever taken the step of firing the customer or even if you’ve just lost a bad customer through some means you might have experienced a pang of regret but it’s quickly replaced with a huge sense of relief. Doing it once it makes doing it again easier because you’re not fearful of the results. In fact you’ll know that the ultimate outcome will be to give you and your business a boost.
Here are two suggestions as to how you can go about doing this:
1. Price yourself out of their pocket. This is a nice and simple non-confrontational approach. The next time they request any work from you they’ll find that your prices have shot up.
2. Suggest that their requirements may be better served by one of your competitors. This is a more direct approach and an acknowledgement that their needs are not compatible with your business.
It is possible to take a pre-emptive strike and fire a bad prospect before they become a bad customer. Simply do this: Think back to recent encounters with bad customers and write down the following:
1. What were their common attitudes?
2. What were their common behaviours?
This gives you the list of tell-take signs to watch for in prospective clients. If you start to see the patterns emerging, take the necessary action and leave prospect to your competitors.
There is a great phrase to sum up this whole approach: “The lesser for the greater”. The short-term pain in firing a customer (who will only hinder your profitability) is more than compensated by the long-term gain of being able to maintain and acquire better more profitable customers.