Toxic Customers: Start the Cleanup

January 18, 2012
Toxic Customers: Start the Cleanup

Customers have the ability to make our job a walk in the park, or a never-ending marathon: especially toxic customers.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every customer were ‘The One?’ You know, the one who seamlessly meshes with your team and fits your culture to a T. The one who totally buys into your process or product and raves about it at every opportunity. The one who always pays on time, communicates effectively, and truly seems to love doing business with you. Unfortunately, ‘The One’ isn’t going to come around every day for most businesses. Most customers could be honestly described as good at best with a few outliers who verge on perfect.

And then there are the others – those who cause dread when they call, evoke chaos and headaches with their constant demands, while generally making you wish they just weren’t yours to deal with. But now for the good news – those types of toxic customers don’t have to stay.

Here are a few articles that discuss the ways and means as well as reasons to fire those customers who are more trouble than they are worth.

Dealing with Toxic Customers:

When to Fire Your Customers

Here’s a nice little article that gives you four ways to identify clients who just aren’t worth your time. They may all be common sense, but that doesn’t mean you’re using them already. Take a minute to see if one of these metrics can help you find out your toxic customers.

When, Why, and How to Fire That Customer
This one’s an oldie but a goodie. This article from all the way back in 2007 shares the experiences of three business owners as they took steps to get rid of or reform some of their worst customers. Best of all are the hard numbers of how one owner’s system to rank and assess each client.

When to Fire Your Customers
Okay, they may not have come up with an original title (as this was article seven with nearly the same name, I decided to give them a little credit); however, this is perhaps the most comprehensive article of the bunch in terms of establishing a comprehensive thought process to assess customers.

The Fire Your Customers Myth
Finally, we have an article with a bit of a caution for those who are now all fired up to go out and get rid of bothersome clients. Here’s an article from a new prospective – that of a happy customer fired by a contractor. Though the situation was a little ludicrous – who knew it was so easy to damage a paver’s delicate feelings – the author still came up with three great ways to help soften the blow as you dump an unfit customer.

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