Your relationship with any customer is valuable only to the extent that your mutual needs are met. If your end of the bargain is consistently coming up short, you may be considering "firing" a customer. The only way you can decide whether to keep a customer is to analyze rigorously what you're getting out of the relationship. Your business judgement must guide you in your decision. Blend objective analysis with your inner feelings about troublesome customers. Never believe that you must work with a client or customer who puts your business' well-being at risk, and never be afraid to take action about that customer when the time is right.
However, you don't always have to drop a customer to make things right. Sometimes all it takes is planning and communication. Here are some tips to help work things out:
1. Institute policies such as steep fines on bad checks or limits on the number of post-sale services you provide.
2. Let your customers evaluate you. Evaluations allow customers and clients to assess your products and services. This helps you identify changing expectations of customers.
3. Charge a premium. Don't hesitate to quote problem customers a higher fee.
4. Limit complaint time. Ask customers to notify you of problems within a set time. This provides an objective basis for denying some services to problem customers.
5. Ask for deposits from customers who pay late or write bad checks.
6. Redirect customers to other vendors who might be able to better serve their needs.
7. Make proposals specific. Spell out the mutual responsibilities for both yourself and the customer.
8. Don't personalize negative feelings about a customer. Remain calm and detached when speaking to problem customers.