How Do You Know If You Should Fire A Client?
Ask any business owner who has been in business for a number of years and they will probably have a story or two to tell you. They may tell you about firing a client and how that actually helped their business. Or they may tell you how they absolutely loathed working with a particular client. But they were afraid to lose the income that client paid them. So, they did nothing. Maybe they still have that client.
Here a few reasons that it may be time to step past your fears and fire that client.
The Client Does Not Respect Your Time
Doreen owns a home care business. She absolutely loves working with seniors. Their families, however, can sometimes be a challenge. She understands that adult children and spouses want the very best for the one they love. And she spends time helping them to understand what changes their loved one is going through. She even offers stress management workshops for caregivers.
Doreen goes the extra mile for her families.
One particular client, however, really drains her energy.
This lady is very needy. Doreen’s company cares for Marian’s mom. And it seems there is always a complaint or a problem to deal with. On top of that Marian wants to talk to Doreen about her own marital problems. She feels her problems stem from caring for her mom. Doreen has referred her to a counselor for help. But Marian just wants to unload on Doreen.
And she refuses to pay for extra hours.
Marian's Mom really needs more help. And Marian is overwhelmed. As such she is unable to provide the extra attention her mother so desperately needs and craves.
Doreen has even talked to her about placement for her mother.
Doreen feels it is time for placement.
Mom is getting more difficult to handle. And Doreen’s company is only there two mornings a week. However, Doreen spends countless hours on the phone with Marian. All of which are unpaid. Furthermore, these hours eat into her time to run her business.
It is critical that you fire this client.
But it will not be easy. What usually happens in these situations is the client will fire you. After a while, you will not be so available for this client. They will get frustrated and eventually fire you. They may even post a bad review about your company online.
And this will really hurt.
How could the client you gave so much time and energy to do this to you? What could you have done differently?
Business owners sometimes get disenchanted with their business altogether due to this one bad situation.
Take Charge- Fire the Client
Take the time to sit down with this client to let them know that your company will no longer be able to provide services. Explain that you feel their loved one deserves the very best. As such you would like to refer them to someone who may be able to help. Have a couple of names available of people who can help. Give your client time. Just as you would like them to give you notice when canceling do the same for them. Do not leave the client hanging.
But Set Firm Boundaries
Your client may try to cling to you desperately. It is important that you stay firm with your decision. Otherwise, you may have to go through this process again in a few months.
2. The Client is Physically or Mentally Abusive.
Let’s face it, if you are caring for elderly folks you may have this situation come up. Hopefully your caregivers have been well trained how to deal with situations. However, sometimes when Dementia rears it’s ugly head it may be more than your caregiver can handle.
Take Action- Don't Delay
If someone in your care is physically or mentally abusive to caregivers or other residents, action must be taken. Is your company really trained to be able to deal with this kind of behavior? If the answer is yes, then great! Just make sure you have ongoing training for staff to make sure. And keep an open line of communication with your caregivers. Don't let them get into something that is over their head. Offer support. Be there for them.
But you have to be honest.
This is so important for you, your reputation, the senior you serve and the family. If the situation is beyond what your caregivers are trained for, step up to the plate.
Stand up and let this client know that you are not the best fit. Make sure you have some solutions for them. It is important when severing a relationship with this type of client that they understand you have their best interest at heart.
Doing What Is Right
Referring them to a competitor or to a complimentary business who can handle their situation is an honorable thing to do. This will show you as the heart-centered professional you are. And trust me that reputation will get around.
When a client is not the right fit for your business you cannot force the situation to work. Letting a client go is never easy. And if you are a new business or your business is going through a slump it can be really hard. However, when you do, amazing things will start happening.
“My client from hell fired me! At first, I was really angry. I had bent over backward for this particular client. How dare they fire me! Then I realized this was exactly what I wanted. I had known for a long time they were dragging me down. This client was very demanding and took way too much of my time. Once she was gone however I picked up two new clients in her place. And, on top of that, each of the new clients paid double what the old one did!” Julie B
This is not uncommon.
When you free up your energy the door seems to magically open. And this allows you to create the business the way you want it to be.
Kathryn Watson is a Social Media Strategist and Marketing Coach. Contact Kathryn to learn how to market your business or to hire the Marketing Your Care Team to help your business grow.
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