When and How to Let a Difficult Client Go Guilt free #1
When and How to Let a Difficult Client Go
In this series of blogs, I’ll give tips on how to deal with a difficult client, or “Sack then”
The best feature of being a boss is the liberty to work with customers of your choice on projects that especially interest you.
No boss directs what you have to work on, and if you’re lucky enough, you don’t need to pursue work or take every project that comes your way.
Even if you’re a less well-established company owner and want every opportunity you can get, you’re destined at some point to meet a client who is a burden. They consume way too much of your time, rob you of your enthusiasm, irritate your team, and are slow or dismissive in sending remittances.
If this occurs, even if it implies you’ll take a monetary hit, getting out is usually the best choice. In the long run, managing clients who generate chaos is barely profitable, even if they pay you enough cash to make up for it (which is rather unusual).
So how do you understand when to let a client go? How do you go about it without blackening your name? In these posts, I’ll talk about the notable signs that it’s time to call time with a client and offer some ideas and methods you can use to end the relationship amicably. We’ll also share some lessons discovered that will hopefully help you evade making related blunders.
When Should You End the Relationship?
There are a few situations in which a client relationship grows too difficult to sustain, at which time your best chance is to part ways. Some of these are glaringly clear, while others are more indirect. Either way, it’s crucial to pick up on the signs early and then act quickly to your best benefit.
Let’s take a look at these.
The Customer Doesn’t Pay Unless You Pursue Them.
The most noticeable one. Most agencies aren’t running welfare – you need to be paid. It’s not unusual for clients to pay late on occasion due to a blunder in accounting, but if it’s occurring more often than not, and you or your team are losing valuable time pursuing payment, consider it time to renegotiate or end the association.
What you decide to do depends on the size of the Customer and the volume of work you’re doing for them. If you’re making a generous sum without having to do much (i.e., it’s mainly passive revenue), then enduring the relationship may be advantageous. If the Customer is valuable to you in other ways, it’s worth figuring out a system for guaranteeing they pay in a well-timed manner.
If you decide to stick with the Customer but want to get them to pay more punctually, amend your agreement to include penalties for late remittance. And then make sure they pay them! I’ve had many customers try to get away with paying the initial invoice amount after two or more reminder statements were issued, each with an interest charge attached.
Distinguish what the pressure intent is to get that Customer to pay what is owed. For instance: try reducing the time in their accounting period that you issue invoices or adding a stricter penalty for non-payment.
I have one Customer I built a microsite for some time ago, which I now host for them. They are invoiced for this cycle but never pay before the due time. In the first year, it took several months to get anything from them, and that was after my contact in the organization visited the accounting office. (Not an option since that contact left.) Now when we invoice, I respectfully but succinctly declare that if payment isn’t received, I’ll believe they no longer require their site to be hosted, and it will be shut down after the invoice due date. Sure enough, the money always arrives in our account overnight. 🙂