Despite the old service industry adage, the customer isn’t always right. Some customers simply aren’t right for your business – and the sooner you identify these clients, the better.
Severing ties with bad customers frees up time and energy to focus on good ones. In most businesses, at least 80% of the money you make comes from 20% or fewer of your freelance jobs, while 10% of your customers actually cost you more than they make you.
Staying in constant contact with your customer during a project is important to ensure that it is done right. Some customers, however, go overboard on communication. If your customers are calling you every hour, peppering you with questions that could be answered by reviewing your website or their contracts, and generally being a pest, they’re probably more trouble than they are worth.
They’re Too Hard to Reach
On the other end of the spectrum, a customer who never answers the phone or responds to emails is probably not a good client. It is tough to build a client relationship with someone you never talk to.
The time you spend trying to reach this person could be better spent on activities that actually make you money. The lack of communication increases the chances of a disconnect between the customer’s expectations and the finished product, which can lead to additional issues with the customer.
They Change Their Demands Mid-Project
From time to time when freelancing, it is understandable that circumstances may arise that require modifications to be made to a project. However, if your customers constantly demand that you modify work you’ve already done because their whims change as often as the direction of the wind, ask yourself how many working hours you’re wasting that could be applied to better uses.
They’re Abusive to You or Your Staff
Some customers are more pleasant than others. Throughout your career, you’ll invariably come across customers that are difficult to work with.
Not all of these customers are candidates to be cut loose. If you know how to build customer relationships, you can sometimes turn a demanding customer into a good one. However, a customer that is verbally abusive or who constantly berates you or your staff is not worth the time or trouble.
Everyone wants the best deal. Consequently, you can’t blame a customer for trying to haggle with you on price here and there. However, a customer who expects you to work for well under what you’re worth – or who tries to get you to agree to a lower price than what you’ve already agreed upon after you have already completed the work – is a customer who doesn’t respect you or your work. This customer is better off hiring people who doesn’t value their own services like you do.