When Should You Fire a Client?

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The customer is always right. Or are they?   Have you ever had “that” customer?  The one whose name popping up in your inbox (or on your phone) just makes you cringe?

Define your best customers — those who are most satisfied, most profitable and are enjoyable to work with — so you can nurture and attract more just like them. At the same time, define which customers cost your business time and make you frustrated.

Breaking up may be hard to do, but when a client is costing you money or making you crazy, it can be a smart move.  As a small business owner, it is important to know when it makes sense to fire a client.

 Some clients think we’re their bank:  They ignore our payment terms and send in late payments. As every entrepreneur knows, cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, so when a client starts abusing the financial aspect of the relationship, it is time to let them go.

 There is the Chronic Complainer:  This is the client who never has anything good to say about you or your business. To them, you’re possibly too expensive or the service you provide is never good enough. This is the person who is often very demanding and cannot be satisfied.

 Then there is the Time EaterThese clients make you feel like they want you to be at their beck and call 24-7.   This client may frequently cancel or reschedule meetings.

      Ask Yourself:  Has this customer always been challenging?  Chronically unhappy people    rarely become satisfied people.  It may be pointless exhausting yourself to please others.    Does this customer mistreat your employees?  If a customer is verbally abusive or harassing one of your employees, let them go!

The process of firing mismatched customers is not pleasant for either side and is to be avoided at all costs. If it has to happen, use tact, courtesy, and professionalism to keep your business name in good public standing.  Discharging customers the wrong way can  lead to bad news for your business. Customers talk, and word of mouth about bad experiences travels fast and far.

Be positive:  Positive language in customer service can make your customers come away feeling more positive about the interaction, even if you’re delivering bad news.

Re-State the Situation:  Never use statements that can be taken as personal attacks like “you’ve been asking for too much.”  Instead, re-state the conversation to something that sounds more like this, “It seems like we haven’t been able to do our job to keep you as a happy customer.”

Apologize:  When we receive an apology, we no longer perceive the situation as a personal threat.  Tell your client that you are sorry that your services are no longer meeting their needs.  You may want to suggest another company…but beware-they may end up being a bad client there also!

As small business owners, our biggest priority is to making our customers happy, successful and loyal. If you can do that, you’ll grow your business. This means you may have to get rid of the bad customers who sap your time and energy from being able to make the good ones happy.

About the Author:  Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Personal/Virtual Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area.  Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks.  Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.    www.anotheryouerrands.com  937-416-2207
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The Art of Customer Appreciation

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The truth is that your business would be nothing without your clients. March 19th is Client’s Day and it is the perfect day for you to start to do something nice for your clients.  Showing appreciation is important, yet not all of us practice that consistently with our customers. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be anything big. Keep it simple. It’s amazing how little it takes to set yourself apart from your competition. Your budget and the number of customers you have will determine the type of gestures you decide upon. But keep in mind, a sign of appreciation to those who keep you in business is a marketing strategy that is worth the price.

Finding creative ways to show your customers you really appreciate them is a smart investment in your business. Showing appreciation to your customers encourages repeat business. Our greatest loss is the customer that disappears quietly; the one that no longer feels valued or important.

Pick Up the Phone: You could simply call them to let them know you appreciate doing business with them. This kind of personal touch is sure to be remembered for a long time.

Write a Note: Go old school and hand-write a note to thank your customers. It’s surprising how rare this is. Can you remember the last time you received a handwritten note from someone?

Send Cards on Unique Holidays: Of course, send a holiday or birthday card to your clients if you wish. But add the extra “Wow Factor” by sending cards to a customer on a unique holidays (like Client’s Day) or a customer’s anniversary with your company.

Send a Gift: Recognize special events in your client’s lives by sending a small gift. The event could be a birthday, promotion, a new addition to the family or a new home. Send a treat like cookies, brownies or candy.  Be sure to consider your customer; if they are into fitness send something a bit healthier. The thoughtful timing of your gift speaks volumes and will not be soon be forgotten.

Gift Baskets: Surprise your best customers with a gift basket. Include a personalized thank-you note from your business. The contents can include anything from chocolate, fruit, coffee, wine, breakfast foods, BBQ items, to almost any gift.

Being busy is often cited as a reason that we do not work on our Art of Customer Appreciation. This is an area to focus some time and resources on. Ask yourself, “What is more important to my business than my customers?”  A little goes a long way. Small tokens of appreciation and unexpected “Thank You’s” get you remembered. Make it a habit to thank your clients on a regular and unexpected basis.

headshot2  About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Personal/Virtual Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks.
Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com              937-416-2207

Who Are You and What Do You Need?

Who Are You?  The question is much more than a song from the late 70’s by the Rock and Roll band The Whoquestion-622164_1280

You are a solopreneur or a small business owner. You work out of your home or a small office. You have been in business 1-5 years and, thanks to all of your hard work, your business is really starting to take off.  You work by yourself or have a small staff.

During a normal day, you are out of the office providing services, networking, and building your business. You get back to your office and you still have bills to pay, customers to call, and invoices to crank out. You check your e-mail where you have 30 new ones plus those 100 that have been sitting in your Inbox for weeks…let’s be honest…months. You see on your calendar that you were supposed to post on your social media sites this week and you have no idea what to post or how to get images that are both engaging and legal to use. Everything you read from “expert marketers” say you have to blog…not only do you have to blog but you have to blog consistently. Who has time to think about and research content? You look at the clock, its 6:00 already and you still have hours of work. You move forward and spend the next hour or two completing a few things on your “To Do List”. You are tired and would really like to see your family and friends. You log off of your computer and as you are reaching for the light you see that box of receipts that you have not entered into your accounting system. Maybe tomorrow.

Does this sound like you? This is a normal day in the life of most small business owners that I meet. They just don’t have time to do everything that needs to be done! They love the focus of their business but really do not care for some of the necessities of running it. They need help but don’t want to hire staff nor have the room for them.

What do you need?

You need someone who has the skills and the time to take on administrative tasks, customer service, social media marketing, e-mail management, and more. You need someone who won’t take up office space or require furniture and equipment. You need someone who you only have to pay for the hours that they actually work. You need a trusted and reliable professional that can handle your needs in a confidential, efficient, and timely manner so you can focus on building your business. You need a Personal Assistant. You need me.

headshotAbout the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.            http://www.anotheryouerrands.com           937-416-2207