This morning I broke off a relationship with a customer from my technology consulting company. Previously, the people-pleaser in me would continue to put up with unreasonable requests, rude communication and endless expectations of free work.
See ya later. Your money is not important enough to me for this kind of behavior and it’s not likely you would pay anyway.
The freedom of telling someone graciously to go somewhere else is actually liberating. It was hard hitting send on that email, but now I feel great because I am spending more time doing what I love (and am best at) and not letting someone ruin my morning coffee. Its amazing how 10% of your customers can responsible for 90% of your problems. Now, I am not suggesting its possible to have every customer be a harmonious romance, but there are some who need to find excellence elsewhere. Here are a few clues on how to know when to let a customer go.
- Perpetual indecision: It is clear no matter what, they will not be happy. There is a certain edge in their communication about each request.
- Belittling: They have no idea what it takes to do what you do, but they think it’s really easy and you charge too much for it.
- Reemergence: They are contacting you after years since your last correspondence. Chances are they burnt out someone just like you and are coming back.
- Cheapskates: They have an outstanding bill of over 12 months
- Lame Reminders: They forward previously sent emails with no message as a not-so-helpful reminder
- Ungrateful: They ask for free help but are pushy with timelines.
- Depression: You get a sinking feeling when you see their email or call coming in.
- ASAP: Seriously, if there isn’t anything more demotivating than someone who adds ASAP to every communication.
I have been in business too long to know to know when to get out. Read more about my thoughts on firing bad customers here.