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Is the customer always right?
It’s time to consider ‘firing’ your difficult clients
Is the customer always right? If you talk to anyone who deals with any sort of customer base, they may give you a flat “no.”
And they may be right, because even if you are adding massive value and creating raving fans of your business, difficult people are everywhere. As Abraham Lincoln famously quoted John Lydgate, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
Featured image Image © Tyler Olson/shutterstock
So what do you do when the people who aren’t pleased are your client?
It might seem counterintuitive to “fire” a customer, since you spend so much time and energy trying to acquire them, but you have to consider the possibility. If you had a difficult employee that was not adding value to the company, wouldn’t you evaluate them? Just like an employee and employer, a client and company also have a relationship — and it is not one-sided. It’s up to the company to determine what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to their clients’ behavior.
If either party decides to leave, it is their right to do so. If they don’t, it is akin to staying in an abusive relationship.
One argument (or excuse) that some businesses make is that they need to keep their clients in order to continue generating revenue. And yes, that is the ultimate goal — but at what expense?
The true question is: what is your threshold? What are the grounds for firing a client? That answer depends on your standards. One red flag, however, is if a client is causing other customers’ experience to suffer, either by depleting important resources or by their direct, negative influence on happy customers. In that case, the answer is clear: Fire your customer!
Header image credit © minicase/shutterstock