Think of your 3 favorite clients. Think about what a pleasure it is do business with them. They appreciate the value that you bring to them, they treat you and your business with respect, and they do business on the terms that both of you agreed to when you first started working together. Now think of your 3 most troublesome clients. They consistently find something wrong with your product or service. They are constantly upset about your prices. You are always chasing them down for late payments. You spend valuable time and energy trying to please them, which you ultimately know is never going to happen. What would your business look like if you eliminated those “D” customers/clients?
As a business owner it is incredibly difficult to fire a client, but what is the cost of keeping them?
In reality, it can be far more advantageous to eliminate those customers, and instead to focus that energy on your “A” clients. By prioritizing the kind of customers your business prefers to have, you can eliminate those who suck up your time, your energy, and your profits. Applying the “80-20” rule, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Focus on how you can go above and beyond for them. Make sure your top customers are “Raving Fans” of your business. If your systems and structures are positioned to take incredible care of those types of customers, it will create the opportunity to attract more of them. Conversely, if you are constantly catering to the 5-10% of customers who will never be satisfied, more of them will find you.
So how do you go about doing this?
First, create clear and concise rules of the game around how you work with your customers. Then, reach out to your troublesome customers and let them know that your business will be operating under these guidelines going forward. If they are not comfortable adhering to them, then you can happily refer them to one of your competitors. Essentially, they will either become better customers for you, or they can continue to operate as they have with someone else.
Second, double down on your efforts with your top clients. Reach out to them and ask them what it is about how you do business that they like best, and what else you could be doing to better service them. Look to where you can make incremental improvements to each touch point you have with them, and find ways to insert “wow” moments into the customer experience. This will help you to create your ideal customer base, decrease your stress, and have a huge impact on your bottom line!