So today I’m going to talk about firing customers. Sometimes you have to fire customers, and this is a delicate situation, but it is also very important. I fired a customer today, customer of my wholesale business, because he was wasting too much of my time. I don’t take a big thrill in this, but sometimes, it’s necessary.
Have you ever been in the situation where a customer who’s costing you way more in time and aggravation than the customer’s worth? If so, it’s a real good reason to fire that customer. Of course, you have to do it in a tactful and gentle way. In this particular case, the guy was a very small customer. Don’t get me wrong, small customers are okay. I like doing business with small customers too. Sometimes when you’re not busy and you get one of those small orders, it’s better than nothing. But this guy always required a negotiation over a couple of boxes of trash bags and negotiation over an already inexpensive item and he doesn’t even need to order a lot of them. So anyway, he wants to negotiate, ask a lot of questions, ask why is the price is higher than the price from 2 years ago.
I actually think this guy is a very successful, actually. He’s not stupid. I believe this because I have an idea of where he lives in a very affluent neighborhood. I think he’s pretty well to do. But when somebody is costing me, hours or more to process to finalize and process a small order and he’s taking up that much time for me, it’s really taking away opportunity cost. When somebody takes you away from other opportunities, you can lose valuable time your could be doing something more valuable or productive. I’d be better served taking 20 minutes to meditate than 20 minutes to go back and forth with this guy’s emails, questions. and special requests. So when something is that aggravating to you and takes away that much opportunity that you could be doing something more productive than it’s, it’s wise to gently get rid of the problem.
You don’t want to do it in a way that the guy ends up giving you a bad review or, or blabber mouth into people. But generally speaking, you’re pretty safe in doing this as long as you don’t become belligerent about it. I’ve fired people before that were just, a real pain in the neck and made life and business miserable.
This even applies if customers make your employees miserable. Protecting a good employees from the pain of dealing with a bad customer will nourish your relationship with them. Don’t be afraid to get rid of those customers who are pulling you or your people down because it’s also pulling your business down, and pulling the life out of your day.
If you’ve been thinking about firing customers before, if you’ve ever been on the fence about it, it’s okay to do it. Just be gentle and thoughtful about it. Be as polite as possible.
I’m Andrew Mazer for Small Business U. You check out our blog and sign up for our The One Good Idea Newsletter for more ideas about marketing, management, motivation, and technology. See you next time. Tell a friend.