6 rules for firing a customer


Look at ways you can disqualify clients who don’t match your ideal profile before they sign up for your services, and create a more thorough client onboarding process to demonstrate the results they should expect. Below we have provided examples for firing a client, complete with some sample email templates and scripts to start the process of ending a business relationship. There are a number of steps you can take to salvage a difficult client relationship. Take every opportunity to resolve the issue before moving on to serious discussions on terminating the relationship.

If a large-scale event or product launch is coming up, consider staying on until the stressful time has passed and easing out after you’ve delivered some stellar results. If you’re in a disastrous working relationship, it’s tempting to pull the trigger on firing the client immediately. I’ve enjoyed my time working with [you/your team], and I appreciate the opportunity! Please let me know how I can best complete the remaining work on my contract between now and .

Thank your best customers to death for their great patronage and worry less about — or simple “fire” — the others. You might save some money by not paying for accounting software from the start but this could cost you later on. No matter how contentious the customer relationship has been, you never want to leave a relationship on a sour note. Bring specific examples of the issue and a plan for how you intend to replace the revenue. They can help you evaluate whether the relationship is salvageable or not and lend authority when you meet with the customer, Ajikawo said.

But beware of clients who aggressively haggle over your fees, seem disorganized and unresponsive, or are rude and demeaning before you even begin working together. You can’t be all things to all people, so get clear about whom you want to work with and only take on clients who fit your “ideal client” criteria. For example, you might only want to work with clients in a certain niche or those with gross revenues over a certain amount.

  • Sometimes you need to realize that you can’t please everyone, especially if they’re determined to find problems with your work.
  • No, you don’t need to stick by them and complete that six-month project with a never-ending case of scope creep.
  • But when you are deciding which customers to let go, consider the likelihood that the situation could change.
  • If you have determined that a customer is no longer worth your time and there aren’t any alternatives available, you must offer them a graceful transition plan out of your business.
  • „Lemon never should have been chosen for this job. He was already the lowest-rated host in primetime, so why would anybody expect for him to be a success in the morning?” Fox News contributor Joe Concha asked.

At HubSpot, we’ve actively avoided policy, boilerplate, and repeatability when it comes to firing customers. When we have difficult situations they’re handled on the phone or in-person, at the executive level. Our senior leaders do a „five whys” look at how they got into that situation, with an aim to fix the root cause and remediate the customer situation to the point where they don’t need to be fired.

Keep the conversation going…

If a former irritating client comes back, I don’t have to have any kind of come-to-Jesus meeting with them. All of these thoughtful steps lead up to the business of actually firing a customer. Regardless of the method you use to communicate the end of the relationship, you want to do it with strong boundaries and neutral language.


With everything clearly in front of you, you can discern how the problem has unfolded and whether it’s an escalating pattern. Knowing when it’s appropriate and how to fire a customer depends on a detailed record of every interaction. Set aside time to talk formally with anyone at the company who has been involved with the abusive or difficult customer. There’s a terrible customer-product fit that can’t be realistically remedied with workarounds, integrations, updates, or product changes within the needed time frame. A customer threatens a customer support person with emotional blackmail, or issues threats of a smear campaign on review sites unless their demands are met. Of course, firing a customer is nothing to take lightly.

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The Importance of Creating a Positive Work Environment for Your Employees by David Semerad

So let’s talk about the right way to fire a straight line depreciation, from determining if it’s the right decision for you, to navigating the relationship afterwards. They may be difficult to work with, not paying their bills on time, prone to scope creep, or you may just not be a great fit for each other. ● Wait Until the Contract Expires — When the contract with the customer ends, simply don’t renew it. When you’re sure all contractual obligations on your part have been met, prepare, and send a termination letter. In the comments below, share your list of „deal breakers” and any crazy stories that might have helped you develop that list. Although it isn’t easy to say, I think that another company may be a better fit for you and your specific needs.

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Even if you want to give the client some information about the difficulties you’re facing with them in certain situations, you know that just won’t work. Instead, a convenient excuse will enable you to exit the relationship without confrontation. This letter outlines that the reason for the breakdown of the relationship was due to the project delays and issues, but without casting blame. By emphasizing that you both aren’t a good fit for each other and providing a thoughtful referral, it shows that you bear no ill-will and still want them to succeed. Due to the recent problems and delays with your project, it’s come to our attention that we’re not a good fit for each other.

Explain how you’ll wrap it up

Yes, you probably have frustrations, but voicing those emotionally will not serve your purpose. Explain what you need and just say you’ve got to move on. Sometimes letting go of a client can replenish that joy when it’s been depleted. I’d hang on to the client (in part because I was operating from a scarcity mindset—how would I replace that income if I lost the client??). I’d get so stressed about it that I’d resent working with them. I’d bitch about the situation to all my friends who, truthfully, didn’t want to hear it.

“the men’s

Amid the challenge of rebranding CNN, Licht seemed keen on first rebranding Lemon, who had become one of the network’s most vocal anti-Republican voices in primetime. Inefficient, costing you more money than you might realize. Firing a client or customer is almost always the right decision in this case. You need to run your business like you’re the owner of something truly valuable – because you are. Outline your company’s customer journey and experience with these 7 free customer journey map templates. Below is a situation that unfolded between a Samsung customer and a company service rep. The customer is calling because, according to Samsung’s policies, he needs to be home to sign for a package.

How to Fire a Client the Right Way

These employees regulate team performance and give CSMs all the tools they need to assist customers. If you want to grow your business, make sure to find the most suitable person to take charge. But, sales and marketing aren’t the only resources you can use to ensure customers will invest their time and money into your company.

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With that groundwork in place, you’re ready to bring your client in on your thought process. What date you’ll officially be done (ideally, you’ll be able to give your client adequate notice so that they have time to find someone else if necessary). It can be tempting to crank out a long list of every awful trait that client possesses—particularly if you really hated working with them. But, remember that this step isn’t about venting your frustrations or deflating your client’s ego.

Get organized, win jobs, and wow customers.

Before firing a client, consider whether better communication, managing expectations, or leveraging technology to make it easier to work together can turn the relationship around. It’s tempting to tell the client exactly what you think of them, but just stick to the facts of why you’re ending the relationship. Some business owners have a policy ofraising their ratesfor a frustrating client. This behaviour shows they don’t understand your business and the value you offer.

Eliminating the source of this stress will improve morale and productivity, and that has a positive impact on your business. Have several difficult clients come from the same referral partner? If so, one of your competitors may be referring all of their problem clients to you! Consider whether you want to accept any new referrals from that source in the future. Whatever you do, never fire a client when you’re angry. If you have a heated conversation with a difficult client, sleep on it before making any rash decisions.


If such moves run counter to your company’s customer-first ethos, you can respond to CLV data differently, perhaps by increasing your level of service to the segments you now see are most valuable. Like you too, I too am a very easy going, professional and fair person to work with. Through strict time management, I like other freelancers schedule work in so you can structure/manage the workload and deadlines. The client never respected the fact that I do actually run a design business and need to address other clients, admin etc.

When To Fire A Customer – Customer Think

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One of the easiest ways to do that is to make a list of your own „deal breakers” or things you just won’t stand for. The only problem is that I didn’t include a list of expectations and the transition period dragged on and on — just prolonging the headaches. It sets clear expectations of the relationship going forward.

Over last few years we have shifted to looking much harder at evaluating prospective clients in advance to try to determine if they will be poor clients when they come on. There are a surprising number of “tells” that you can find in common with your current or past horrible clients, as well as other sources, that will let you know what prospects might be like in the future. Quite a few bad ones will let you know in advance, look at them during the meet, greet, setup stages and avoid them before you have to fire them. For those that are still skeptical I recommend reading the book The Manager. It will help provide the courage to “rip the band aid off.” Sometimes we are afraid to let go of customers, but in the end you will be more profitable and gain the intangible of happier employees. One was a prior insured that wanted to come back to our agency.

  • As we move into volatile times , business leaders more than ever need to maniacally focus on the few customers that matter most to them — and spend much less time on the rest.
  • Excellent article and very useful in private healthcare practices.
  • And if they’re just a nightmare to work with and they’re bullying your team, they create additional stress.
  • One of the great things about freelancing is that you decide how you run things.
  • When you’re dealing with people, there’s no rulebook.
  • If firing or losing this client would have a significant impact on your bottom line then it’s time to look at how you can mediate and save the relationship.

● Chronic Complainer or Overly Demanding — Such clients rarely appreciate you or your business. They often consider your service or products either too expensive or not good enough. They tend to request more and more changes to the work beyond the agreement. It gives you the opportunity to send your competition your less than ideal clients.

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