by Tash Hughes
of Word Constructions (www.wordconstructions.com)
run a small business, especially in the early days, you
grab every client you can. But is that really the best
tactic for your business?
there bad clients?
As much as
most of us have faith in people, there are customers who
will make your life difficult and may even cost you more
than you earn.
asked me for a quote to prepare a product catalogue for
her. As my quote was out of her budget I gave her a
lower price to just prepare the text so she could do the
formatting herself. I spent more time on this project
than I had expected because Jackie questioned every
little details and kept returning the text in tables.
the project was finished and Jackie complained that it
wasn’t formatted and wouldn’t pay her bill. I later
found out that Jackie did similar things with her web
designer, only paying an invoice when she wanted
something else done to her site.
love to say that Jackie is the only bad customer, but
the reality is that most businesses will find their own
Jackie over time.
bad customers the price of doing business?
customers don’t treat with you with respect and are the
most likely to pay bills late. They are demanding and
therefore take up more of your time than is reasonable
of expected in your quote.
acknowledge any extras you do for them – they will take
them for granted, basically, and probably won’t give you
any word of mouth referrals later either.
these customers will use up your time and patience
without paying for it.
this to good customers who respect you and your time,
and pay you promptly.
and expertise are better spent on the good customers,
for the sake of your profits and your enjoyment of doing
Choosing your customers
while, it is easier to spot those clients who may be
difficult to deal with. It may be their tone of voice on
the phone, the attention to detail before you even
prepare a quote, the look they give you as they enter
your shop or that they try to negotiate a special deal.
have spotted a bad customer, what do you do about it?
it is important to be polite and use good customer
service to everyone who contacts your business. But that
doesn’t mean you have to accept every client nor accept
any rudeness or abuse.
to have faith that you will attract other customers so
that you don’t have to accept them all to make money.
And you need to respect yourself and your staff enough
to protect yourselves from clients who make work
I say no to a client?
stay polite and respectful when dealing with unpleasant
customers. You can be form and refuse to listen to
abuse, but do it politely.
just say “no, we can’t help you” or you can choose to
give a reason.
Clear communication is critical to
the success of any business, but it is often left to
care for itself in many businesses. Tash Hughes is a
professional and skilled writer who makes technical and
otherwise boring information accessible for everyone a
business needs to communicate with. Next time you need
webcopy, articles, newsletters, reports or any other
business document, visit
see how Tash and her team can help your business