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How to deal with super annoying - and even completely hopeless - customers

In fact, there are a lot of super-tough, conflict-prone, small-minded and arrogant, ”could have used 20 years on a therapy couch before he/she was released among the rest of us”- kind of people out there and if you are unlucky, some of them will also become your customers. It won't matter what you do, they will always cause you problems and make your life as miserable as their own.

Take a test - is it time to get rid of a customer?
• Nothing you do is good enough for them.
• They never admit that they make mistakes.
• They are nice to you when you meet, but slander you behind your back.
• They treat you like an idiot.
• They love to come up with things at the last minute so you have to work evenings and weekends.
• They send e-mails on weekends and during your vacation and expect you to take care of any matter right away.
• They are constantly trying to find ways to pay you less.
• They try to get you to do extra work, but they don't want to pay for it.
• They pay as late as possible.
• You hate to work with them.
• When see his/her number on the caller ID, you get a thundering headache.

Did you get more than two “yes”? Then it's time to do something about the situation!

1. Raise your rates/prices. It's the best advice for getting rid of a customer without having to go through a reasoning process and trying to explain why you don't want to work with them anymore. Double, well, triple - your rates and find the motives to do it, no matter what.
2. If you really meet a monster of a man/woman that you will never be able to please - recommend him/her to another company. Why not to your competitors?

But what if it doesn't work? What if he/she still wants to hire me?

1. It's pretty easy to end a business relationship when you complete an assignment. If you have completed the job and they don't contact you again - congratulations. If they still want to continue the relationship, you can make sure to be busy every time they contact you and politely tell them that you have too many things on your plate right now.

2. If you are in the middle of a job with this client, it can become hazardous to abort the project if you have a contract for a fixed period or for a specific job. The problems can grow bigger than they already are if you just bite the bullet and finish the task.

3. Write a letter. It's better than ending the relationship with a meeting. If you write a letter, you have time to articulate it well and professionally.

4. Choose your words carefully. Use nothing that makes the customer even more difficult. Write something like;”I regret to inform you that we are unable to complete/continue ...”

5. Explain the reasons why with finesse. If the customer is an annoying person who always walks in unannounced at the office and screams when he/she is unhappy with something, you can write;”It's important to me that you get the attention you deserve. Because of our other commitments, we are regrettably unable to finish the project with the quality and commitment you deserve and therefore need to terminate our cooperation.”

6. Wish them good luck for the future (even if you wish that they got hit by a bus)

7. If the customer suddenly realizes that he/she has created a mess and wants to start over again – don't back down. If this is a person who has done you all kinds of wrong, you can be pretty sure that he/she will not change very much, whatever he/she promises.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.