I have always been a big believer that customer is King, but there are times when that customer care strategy can look more like tyranny! Yes, that’s right. Not all customers are created equal, so don’t waste your time on the bad ones. This may sound crazy to you, but any relationship, even the buyer/vendor relationship works best when all parties respect and value each other.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not suggesting you cut off any client for some menial issue. No matter your industry, we are all basically in the customer service business and without clients, even annoying clients, we have no business. No one is perfect and no company or project is either. Mistakes are made and feelings can be hurt. You might even be the offender yourself!
Over the last 25 years, I have noticed there are certain abusive client type behaviors that undermine a business relationship. The biggest offender of all is the client that thinks what you do is easy and takes no time at all. If they ask you to do something for nothing, walk away.
Remember, it doesn’t matter how much you need the work, be selective and be careful how much comp work you agree to. If someone asks for a freebie usually it’s followed by, “I will refer you to everybody I know and send a lot more work your way.” Forget about it because it won’t happen!
There are also clients who will continually ask for a price reduction and will make up a number of excuses. Maybe they are on a tight budget or business is down, but all they are really telling you is that they don’t think you’re worth what you charge. And, from my experience, the client who pays the least will usually expect the most.
Some business is just bad business. Take for example the client that will ask you to do something unethical or even worse, illegal. Don’t ever compromise your integrity for the sake of keeping a client. Once a client knows you will be dishonest for them, they know you won’t have a problem doing the same to them. They will really never trust you.
Other clients love to eat up time out of your day and drain billable hours. Most businesses have experienced the occasional client who will call with questions on how to do something so they don’t need to actually hire you to do it for them. They’re not benefiting your business and will continue to take and take with no respect for your time, so why try to please them.
As long as you are patient, pleasant, hard working and do everything within reason to keep clients happy, they will appreciate you and your effort. Some clients need more hand holding than others and there will be the occasional client who tests your stress level to the max.
Take a deep breath and if you can’t tolerate any more of their antics, maybe it’s time to walk away. How do you handle the occasional bad client?
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