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Say Goodbye to Bad Clients

Devon KreiderDevon Kreider

No matter if you provide a service, or sell a product, I think it’s safe to say that there is one thing every business can find a common ground.  Bad customers and clients.

If you put a group of people in a room together, all from different industries and different markets, I guarantee everyone would have their own customer horror story.

In fact, most of us can spot a bad client from a mile away.  We see the warning signs in their behaviors, and maybe our gut tells us to run…fast!

Yet a good majority of us turn a blind eye.  We ignore the creepy music playing in the background and go into the basement.

photo cc: Bricks of Horror

photo cc: Bricks of Horror

There is a school of thought in the biz world that says no customer is a bad customer, and that you should satisfy the needs of any paying customer.

And to the teachers of that school I say, wrongo! As someone who works in customer support, I’m fully behind and in love with customer satisfaction.

But satisfying all of your customers is simply not feasible.

Now, before you go off on a rant about how backwards I have it, let me explain.

The kind of bad customer that we can all pick out in a crowd may technically be giving us money, but they’re giving us significantly less money than our awesome and beloved customers.

Generally speaking, these are the customers at the low end of the spectrum.  They perceive less value from you and your product or service, and they have more ridiculous demands than the customers and clients at the high end of the spectrum.

In the end, they cost you more than they’re worth to you.  Not just in financial terms but in terms of your productivity and happiness.

The way to satisfy all of your customers is to choose the ones that are right for you.

Our instinct is to look at our customer and clients and identify the bad guys. Because that’s easy.  We can probably all name a handful of bad customers right now.

But what about the good guys?  What do they look like to you?

That’s definitely a harder question to answer.  But it’s the one that will make a huge difference in your business.  The right customers and clients are willing and happy to pay you more money because they value you.

And the right customers and clients, they remind you why you got into this business (whatever the business is that you’re in) in the first place.

So, how do you spot the good customers and avoid the bad ones?

First, you have to figure out who your ideal customer or client is.

And there’s no right or wrong answer here.  There are many parameters to consider when describing your ideal client.

But who has time to go through all of the possible good client guidelines that are out there?

You’ve got a business to run and a team to manage.  You need to be able to identify your most bestest, most ideal client without wasting any time.

To save on time (and you know we’re all about saving you time) ask yourself 5 key questions about your ideal client.

  1. How would my ideal client value the type of work I do (design, code, writing, etc.)?  How happily would they pay for it?
  2. How would my ideal client define quality?  Can they tell when my work is great, and when it’s just okay?
  3. How would my ideal client work with me? How and when do they give feedback? How much do they trust me or try to control me?
  4. How would my ideal client see my work (and me)? Is it instrumental to their business, or as a necessary evil?
  5. Have I ever worked with a client who fits this description? How’d it feel? How’d I find them?

When you can answer these questions, you’ll find that you *can* work with your ideal client. 

Not only that, but you’ll find clients that will look at the work you’re charging for as an investment.

Goodbye bad customers and clients, hello better business.  

P.S. Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to continue talking about how to work with the clients of your dreams.

Devon joined the Freckle team in 2012 and left in Summer of 2015 to seek out new adventures! You may recognize her as your Freckle Support Superhero. A graduate of Temple University, Devon is a marketeer and sort-of-German-speaker.