Chances are, if you own a business you’re going to come across a demanding customer who’s more trouble than he’s worth. And just like analyzing your business risks, it’s important to consider whether these customers are really worth the effort. Ask yourself these questions to determine if it’s time for you to drop that troublesome client.
Do they know what they want?
Does this client have a good handle on what they require from you? If they don’t really know what they want, they’ll continue to demand things from you without ever becoming a satisfied customer. This could mean that you’ll never see the financial benefits of helping them.
Spend time with these clients to help them clarify (for your benefit and theirs) exactly what it is they expect your business to provide for them. They may even need to go all the way back to the drawing board to figure that out. If they can’t decide exactly what they expect from you, it’ll be hard for their project to remain profitable and you should consider parting ways.
Is this client going to give you repeat business?
Has this demanding client come to you with a problem that has the potential to turn into repeat business? If so, it makes it worth your time and effort to continue working with them. The current economy makes it especially important to keep your repeat clients happy, so this is an important question to consider.
Can I keep up with other projects while trying to satisfy the demands for this one?
If one customer takes up all of your time, you can’t dedicate the proper time to other projects. If the time you’re spending on a project with little monetary benefit takes up most of your time, it may be a good idea to end the customer relationship and move on. If the dollar amount of the project is significant, you have even more important decisions to make; if you’ve taken on too large a project, your other clients may suffer.
Do I have the staff/resources to make them happy in the end?
It’s important to fully understand your limitations. Small businesses often make the mistake of taking on too many projects. After all, it’s hard to say no to projects that are going to pay the mortgage. But in order to be successful, you have to make sure you’re putting in the proper amount of time required to successfully complete each project. If you don’t have the time or resources to make a demanding customer happy, maybe it’s time to refer them to someone else.
Wanting to say “yes” to every customer is understandable, but it’s not always possible. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t make someone happy. The key is to determine your limitations, stay within them, and work toward the goals of your organization. Taking on the right customers and weeding out problems will make you more profitable and more productive.
This article from Businessweek has some great ideas for helping demanding clients understand they’re not your only responsibility.11 months ago • 1 note