Four signs that it is time to end a customer relationship

You’ve poured your heart and soul into a client, but it’s just not working out. As a business owner, your first instinct is to save the relationship at all costs. But in some cases, trying to make the relationship work may actually be worse for you – and your client.

Here are some signs that ending a troubled relationship may be the best thing for your business.

  • The relationship is causing stress for both you and your client. Working with a client with a vastly different philosophy than that of your firm can be stressful for you, your staff and your client. Whether the client isn’t clearly communicating its expectations, or your staff is feeling defeated by criticism, some clients won’t ever be on the same page with you, no matter how hard you try. Both parties should benefit from the relationship, and if they are not, it may be time to end it.
  • You and your staff are spending a lot of time and money on the client for little or no return. You’ve tried, and tried again, but despite your best efforts, the client is still unhappy. You’ve tried moving people around, you’ve changed your processes and the end result is that the client is still unhappy and your staff is stressed. Put in your best efforts to satisfy the client, but when you reach a point that the effort isn’t worth the return, it may be time to end the relationship and free up your staff for other projects.
  • The client relationship is causing a drop in employee morale. Troubled customer relationships can cause internal strife. When employees are stressed and have tried everything they can to resolve the issue externally, they may start pointing fingers internally. That can cause tension among employees, which can bleed over into other client relationships. For the sake of your company culture, and of your other clients, it may be time to end that client relationship and focus on those that are healthier.
  • You’re putting in a lot of effort and bringing in revenue, but you aren’t making any profit. It can be difficult to break off a relationship with a client who is paying top dollar for your services. But how much are you really making for all of the effort you are investing? When evaluating client relationships, look at the money coming in versus the cost of getting the work done. If you are breaking even, or even losing money, it may be better to find a new client that will allow you to make a profit for all of your efforts.

Ending a troubled relationship with a client can be difficult, but sometimes hanging on can be more so. Evaluate your relationship with your difficult clients to determine whether they are doing more harm than good to you, your company and your employees, then make the decision that you determine is in everyone’s best interests.

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