We all know that feeling when you see which client is calling and you inwardly groan, What is wrong now? Some customer relationships are more difficult than others, for sure. That is to be expected in any organization.
However, there are other customer relationships that have moved beyond difficult. The costs of the resources it takes to manage the many aspects of doing business with them has outgrown the revenue the generate. Or they are so heinous to deal with that the money you do make doesn’t feel worth it for the toll it takes on your people and organization.
With customers like these, it might be time to fire them.
In this episode, we talk about our listener Robert’s problem with difficult customer relationships and when it is time to call it quits. Moreover, we discuss the best possible way to handle this tricky process that can keep you from burning that bridge entirely, even when there are days when you would be all too happy to light that match.
Key Ideas to Improve your Customer Experience
Every customer relationship has two general areas to consider. First, there is the financial aspect. Are they making your organization money? Sometimes, when you determine the costs of the resources it takes to maintain the account, you discover that they aren’t, which makes your decision less difficult. Second, there is the interpersonal aspect. Are they making you and your people miserable? If servicing the account means that you have high turnover in the account management positions that deal with the customer, as well as throughout the organization, it might be worth it to reassess the relationship. We discuss these areas, as well as other considerations in the decision process.
Here are a few key moments in the discussion:
- 04:53 We learn about Robert and his business problem with difficult customers and when to know it’s time to move on.
- 07:13 We start by agreeing that there are customers who should be fired and how you can identify those situations from a rational perspective.
- 11:48 Colin shares an example of who shouldn’t be in on the decision to fire a customer and who would be better suited with the task, and why.
- 16:11 We discuss the key traps to avoid in this decision process, so you can make a decision that will not cost you more in the long run.
- 21:38 Colin shares a seven-step process for letting a customer go as gracefully as possible.
- 27:29. Ryan shares some tips for managing your reputation during the transition.
- 30:46 Colin shares one last tip for what you should do to avoid this situation in the future.
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Customer Experience Information & Resources
LinkedIn recognizes Colin Shaw as one of the ‘World’s Top 150 Business Influencers.’ As a result, he has 289,000 followers of his work. Shaw is Founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy LLC, which helps organizations unlock growth by discovering customers’ hidden, unmet needs that drive value ($). The Financial Times selected Beyond Philosophy LLC as one of the best management consultancies for the last two years. Follow Colin on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Click here to learn more about Professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University.
Why Customers Buy: As an official “Influencer” on LinkedIn, Colin writes a regular newsletter on all things Customer Experience. Click here to join the other 22,000 subscribers.
Experience Health Check: You already have an experience, even if you weren’t deliberate about it. Our Experience Health Check can help you understand what you have today. Colin or one of our team can assess your digital or physical Customer Experience, interacting with your organization as a customer to define what is good and what needs improving. Then, they will provide a list of recommendations for critical next steps for your organization. Click here to learn more.
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