Customer Success | 6 MIN READ

When Is It Okay to Fire a Client? How to Do It the Right Way?

How to fire a client? Although, it’s not easy but sometimes it is necessary. The blog here answers, when to fire one and how to do it in a nicer manner.

Simran Mohanty
Simran Mohanty
Dec 7, 2020

Fire-a-Client

Are you irritated with some of your customers? Do you secretly wish how lovely your life would be without them? And is it really okay to fire a client? Well, fortunately sometimes the answer is yes!

When a client subscribes to do business with you, it’s not like they tie an irrevocable nuptial bond with you. As an individual, you too have some wishes and demands. Moreover, it is not always healthy to nod to your customer with a ‘yes’ all the time.

The thing is, once a customer relationship begins to sour, it impacts your business in a negative light. It is always wiser to steer away from all the negativities as fast as possible. I bet, it’s no easy to deal with firing a client in the first place. So, here I share a few such tips on how to do it the right way. 

Fire a Client
Source: Pexels

When it is okay to fire a client? 

  • When Payments take a backseat: It is not funny when a customer does not pay up at times. Out of courtesy, you may exempt it once or twice, considering the exceptions, but turning it into a habit is a big no-no. Also, it is your duty to let the client know that the company deserves the payment to clear out on a prior budget and to provide a salary to the staff.

    Not just that, you have payment deadlines to meet up too. Whatever the reason be – if the client is hesitant to clear a pending payment, maybe it’s time for them to leave. 
  • When they are Disrespectful or Dishonest: Nobody likes to see a rude or disgruntled customer at any cost. However, it is much-needed that you don’t lose your cool and your professional grounds. Try collecting your thoughts and understand what the customer wants.

    Further, always back your words with research and facts. There is nothing wrong in simply stating the truth. And if the situation comes where the client’s behavior gets out of hand – end the conversation. Better yet, place them on a 15-day probation period if that is the need. This will prove that you take customer relationships a little too seriously and there is no room for disrespect. 
  • When Unrealistic Demands kick in: Demands are something that stays common in all of the businesses. Some of the clients do not like the original scope of services rendered by you. They will always demand more. Nothing keeps them satisfied. And some even take to unconventional ways and get aggressive in fulfilling their demands.

    What are the repercussions? They start to abuse you and your staff. They threaten to block you. In each of these cases, never let your integrity be questioned – come what may. You did whatever you could but no luck! Now is the time when it is more than okay to fire that client without any second thoughts. 
  • When Anger Management is an Issue: Unless you are not extremely fortunate, you might find clients who have an anger management issue. But, don’t let this issue bite you just yet. Take no backseats when it comes to vehement abuses, a bad temper, or attitude problems.

    Neither you nor your team deserves to be at the receiving end of your client’s slings and arrows. Accept the fact that you don’t deserve it. Period. None of these should be tolerated under any circumstances. 

How to do it the right way? 

  • Keep it polite and cordial: It is highly recommended to steer away from the ‘he-said-she-said’ game. Instead, try to bring a simple yet significant stance in your approach. It is very easy to slide into a really intense argument with voices yelling on top of each other. Resist.

    Try to take the high road. Do not get into the specifics and details. In a broader perspective, explain to the customer why you will have to let go of him or her. You should not let anyone talk to you and your staff with disrespect.
  • Be Honest: Let honesty speak for itself. Do not be afraid to speak the truth to the client. In fact, the tables might turn if a client gets to know later on that you were lying in the first place.

    They are already agitated enough with you. Now, do not supplement them with a reason to go about and badmouth your company. You may choose to never unite a bond with them but at least ends things politely and truthfully.
  • Go sharp and direct: Keep the firing process crisp, simple, short, and direct. It does not look like a good idea to beat around the bush. Do not draw out the entire firing ritual and create a whole new source of stress altogether.

    Get to the point. Let the client know the exact reasons why you wish to fire him or her. Be as simple as possible before inflicting pain and blame.
  • Let the Contract expire: To avoid really embarrassing and uncomfortable discussions, wait till the contract ends naturally. This will also aid in providing an exit path for the customers.

    You can simply choose to not renew the subscription as the contract ends. But till that moment, you will have to bear up with the client. Though painstakingly enough, this will look a lot less traumatizing than firing a client mid-way. Therefore, grab some patience and sever the terms with the contract.

That’s a Wrap 

The silver lining to fire a client that is of no good is that you will end up saving more time and render attention to much-valued customers. You can now connect more with the ones who are easy to deal with and can generate more respect and revenue with you. There is no easy way to let a customer go. But if that is what the situation demands, then preferably that is for the best. As your company grows, learn to embrace difficulties that come your way with grace and love. As at the end of the day, that is what counts.

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Originally Published December 7th, 2020, Updated December 30th, 2020

Simran Mohanty

Simran Mohanty

Simran hails from the content marketing backdrop with extensive knowledge in blogs, articles, and technical whitepapers in the non-fictional domain. She uses her 'gift of the gab' to explore new possibilities on her way and to make an exquisite impact on her readers. In her spare time, she likes to read journals on artificial intelligence or play with her cute kittens. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.

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