Firing A Client
Getting a client is hard, but firing a client can be harder. Businesses of all sizes spend hundreds of
thousands of pounds trying to get a new client. There are adverts in newspapers, television and local magazines, special offers and financial incentives.
Small Businesses find their clients slightly differently, however, the effect is the same. A significant amount of money spent to attract a potential new client. Adverts in local magazines, investment in websites and social media. Also, small businesses often attend business networking meetings. Meetings could have a joining fee, a monthly fee and a weekly fee. In addition to the cost of the meeting, the time at the meeting, the time following up leads and then the time generating the paperwork and information needed to entice the potential client into being an active client.
However, there are occasions when a client becomes a liability. This can happen for a variety of reasons:
- Too demanding of your time
- They keep changing their mind
- Unpaid Invoices or late payments
- Your staff are bullied by the new client
- The job or task become a financial liability
It is on occasions like those listed above, that you may need to start to think about firing your client. Firing a client can be tough, it can be scary (especially if you have retained income) and it can be an entirely new experience for you.
Before you start Firing a Client
A client cull often takes place when a business is re-evaluating their financial position, their offering or staff allocation on a project or task. To decide if a client is worth keeping, grade your clients into four sectors:
- A Clients – Clients you love to work with and are highly profitable
- B Clients – Clients you enjoy working with and are profitable
- C Clients – Clients that are OK and you make a modest profit
- D Clients – Clients that cost you money, time and are unsatisfying
If one particular client spring to mind and before making the decision to fire the client, you need to ensure that you the amount of aggravation created by that client, for you and your business is the right action to take.
- Can the situation be resolved quickly?
- Has the situation arisen out of a misunderstanding?
- Do you want to continue to work with the client?
- Will you have to take the client to court if money is owed?
- Has the business suffered, due to the client?
If you are adamant that the only option available will be to fire your client, then ensure you are prepared for the initial conversation, the possible outcome and the consequences of the firing.
Preparation for Firing A Client
Once the decision has been made that the client will be fired, you need to communicate the decision to the client. The type of communication open to you is vast, email, letter, fax, telephone or in a face to face meeting. A face to face meeting should be the first choice.
- Rehearse what you are going to say to the client
- Suggest an alternative person or business that could take the project on
- Tell the client that your business is moving in different direction
After Firing a Client – A Personal Reflection
Being a Virtual PA, getting and keeping clients, as any business is hard. Nevertheless, as a virtual assistant business, we have had to fire a few of our clients. As a rule, we do try and ensure that our clients are satisfied with the outcomes of the tasks they ask us to undertake. However, there has been two occasions when a client has asked one of my Virtual PAs to provide a service at a price that is unsustainable. On this occasion, we informed our client that we could not continue to work with them. We recommended some alternative providers that might be able to provide the service they require.
Another client requested a service that we were unqualified to offer. We suggested that they spoke to a qualified solicitor to resolve the situation and suggested three solicitors from our network of contacts. Our client was happy with the referral and we have retained their business for other tasks.
It is scary when you are having the conversation, but on the whole, the client is relieved and grateful that a decision had been made. The decision protects them, protected my virtual assistant business and protects my Virtual PA.