Posted by Jarrod Miller-Dean
Uploaded 131 days ago
As a small business owner and home services professional, you have the pleasure of working with clients from all walks of life. Some you love and are easy to work with. Others are a bit more challenging and require extra effort.
To provide the best customer service possible, at times you go the extra mile. This can involve more tasks than initially required, appointment flexibility, and some jobs that are not in the service agreement altogether. For the customers that you love, being flexible isn’t a problem. However, the ones that push your buttons and try to take advantage with unreasonable demands, are a different story. Whether those high maintenance customers have left positive reviews in the past or sent referral leads, there comes a point when boundaries need to be set. And sometimes, there comes a point when it’s time to fire your client.
In order to determine the best customers for your business, boundaries need to be set initially set in the best interest of you, your employees, and the business. This is one of the benefits of a liability waiver. It outlines the job duties that your company does and doesn’t do, so later on, there are no questions why a task hasn’t been performed.
But what do you do when a dispute erupts between your company and a customer? For example, when appliances or furniture are damaged on the job. Naturally, as a service professional, you try to ensure that the customer is taken care of. You apologize and even offer to pay for damages, but for some high maintenance customers, this isn’t enough. And sometimes, the damages are not entirely your fault. So what is the best way to handle an unruly customer or one that tries to take advantage of you or your staff?
As a customer service professional—in the home services industry or not—there will always be a special subset of “problem clients” that are always a challenge to deal with. They may be high maintenance, demanding, cheap...the list goes on. You’re on pins and needles for the client every time you go to clean their house, cut their lawn, or fix a part of their home. Truth be told, sometimes there comes a point when a business relationship needs to end. Things aren’t working out. While the money is nice, the stress isn’t worth it. It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. In order to not burn any bridges, or the worst possible fear of them leaving a negative review, what’s the best way to separate from the situation? This process may feel like surgery, but it doesn't have to be.
Understanding how to handle customers, especially challenging clients is the cornerstone of being a good business owner. It’s important to create and set boundaries, and stick to them. If not, you’ll keep experiencing the same situations over and over again. When you or your staff are not happy, no matter how hard you try, your best work won’t shine through. It will begin to damage current and future customer relationships.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to fire a client, evaluate the incidents that have led up to the present, set your boundaries, and stick with your final decision. It's never fun firing customers, but in the long run, you’ll be a lot better off.
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