We Love Our Clients! Well…Most of Them.
No. You haven’t just entered the green room of a Dr. Phil taping. Rather, we are about to talk about what can often be a very difficult business conversation to have with your partners and staff. The question of “who makes the cut of continuing as your client”, and “who doesn’t”, takes careful consideration. Truly, your clients are everything to your business, and losing even one can hurt to the core. However, there are often beneficial trade offs to breaking away from certain clients. Let’s explore them.
Reality Check: All Clients Have Value, But May No Longer Be A Fit.
You know these clients all too well. They are “that” client that your staff spends the most time serving, for the least amount of ROI. They are the client that calls you more than any other. Sometimes they might even complain about your fees, despite the great value and service received. In the worst of cases, staff may dread meeting with these clients, and the onslaught of issues that each annual engagement brings. These dynamics occur in every practice. You’re not alone. However, in most cases your business can see positive effects from separating from these select customers.
Points To Consider.
Once you have identified these clients you should understand why it is often in the best interest of you, the client in question, and your remaining book of business, to make a clean break.
- The client in question might be happier at another firm, with a different business model. Have you ever considered that perhaps they may be staying with your firm, out of a forced loyalty to you and your staff? By having a frank and candid conversation with them about your business model and their needs, a respectful understanding can often be arrived at.
- High maintenance clients take time away from more profitable clients. When relations start to sour with a client (through no fault of your own), the first reaction is to pour more time and energy into preserving their business. Unfortunately, extra time is normally siphoned away from your more loyal and profitable clients. Don’t allow this to happen.
- Time saved can be used to attract new clients. Time is a limited resource. Why not redirect the time savings into nurturing referral opportunities through your remaining client base? After all, your remaining clients can serve as your best advocates and advertisers. Even better, your best clients probably know other prospects that are similar to them in many ways. Imagine having your best client, duplicated times ten!
- Separating from difficult clients can improve morale in your office. Difficult customers can leave staff stressed and anxious after each appointment. By removing these types of clients from your book, you may see a positive attitude shift with your staff.
The Difficulty of Letting Go.
In conclusion, it’s never easy saying farewell to a client. Fear lurks everywhere. Will bad feelings persist? Are you going to be able to replace them? Will you truly use the extra time to benefit your remaining clients? These are all very common questions and concerns. Your business however, is larger than any one person. In order to continue growing as an organization you must choose your employees wisely, and yes, even your clients. Your long term business success depends upon it.
To learn more about methods to cultivate a healthy client focused firm, download our current whitepaper Focus on the Client: Developing a Client-Centered Firm.