We all have clients we don’t like dealing with. And, if we don’t like dealing with them, it is highly likely we aren’t exactly giving them the experience they deserve. Further, if we don’t like them, it is naive for us to then assume they like us isn’t it? Not exactly a healthy relationship. In a personal situation – we’d have little to do with that person.
Have you ever considered firing your client?
You possible have considered it but do we ever fire them?
Very seldom. We struggle on through gritted teeth – shuddering when the phone rings and it’s them (worse, dodging the call). We continue to deliver mediocre service to them, focusing on our ‘loved’ clients instead.
At what cost?
Not liking a client affects many things in a business relationship. Because you don’t like them, you aren’t thinking about them. As a result, you don’t seem to encounter or identify ways to improve their situation as readily. You don’t act as proactively. You don’t go the extra mile (in fact, sometimes just the opposite occurs). You don’t prioritise them. You don’t cherish their business. You sometimes wish they’d ‘go away’. The relationship therefore becomes flawed.
Not liking a client doesn’t make them a bad client. Not liking a client doesn’t make them an unprofitable client – though, delivering poor service can make it seem this way.
Not liking a client is human. We don’t like everyone and, hold on, not everyone likes us. Get used to it.
So what do I do?
We have choices – we can choose whether to like a client or, it we don’t, whether to maintain the relationship.
First and most importantly – you need to determine whether the client is one whose business you wish to retain. Park your ego for a moment and ask the simple question – is it just me? Is it your personality? If it is, and you can fix it – fix it. Reset the relationship with them. If you can’t fix it, consider moving the relationship to someone who doesn’t have your dislike for the client. Someone who will engage differently and give them the service they deserve. Guess what – more often that not, failing to do this is why your clients fire you! Most customers leave you because of issues in service.
Of course, if they are genuinely clients you don’t wish to retain, ask why you don’t like them if it’s not personal? Is it because their and your business are fundamentally divergent? Is it because their and your values aren’t aligned? Are you heading in different directions? Are they just too different from your business – your offering doesn’t completely satisfy their need or want and there’s too much compromise. ‘Is the situation recoverable’ is what you’re trying to understand. If it is, recover it. If not, consider letting them go. Doesn’t this sound like a personal relationship? Guess what, basically it’s the same.
Have the courageous conversation with your client. Be honest. Guess what – they’re thinking it anyway!