15 Dec Dealing with Difficult Clients
Unfortunately, all small businesses have difficult clients. They contact you out of office hours, they want a blow by blow account of the work you’re doing for them, they know better or they want the job doing yesterday.
Here are four ways to make your life easier and deal with those clients who make life difficult.
Customers who want Constant Attention
Explain to them when they first become clients that you are not able to answer phone calls and emails on a continuous basis. Tell them you will try to get back to them as quickly as possible, but sometimes it is not possible to reply immediately. Point out that you are definitely not available out of office hours or at weekends.
If you are working on a large project, you can suggest to them that they speak to you about any issues at a set time every week. For example, confirm at the beginning of the project that the client can discuss matters with you every Wednesday at 3.30pm and that way they get your attention without becoming a nuisance.
Customers who pay late or don’t Pay at all
Make sure your invoices are sent out on time and the due date of payment is clearly marked. If you haven’t received payment on the due date give the customer a ring immediately and let them know that they have to make the payment within a certain period – it can be as short as 48 hours, or you might decide to give them longer. If payment is still not forthcoming write to them and let them know that you will be adding interest to the invoice, which you are legally entitled to do.
After that you can either put the matter into the hands of a professional debt collection agency, or if you know you don’t want their custom in the future, threaten County Court action. If a customer asks to pay in instalments and you agree, make sure the instalments are received on time.
There are customers who don’t value you work and will insist that they know better. Listen to what these customers have to say and address their concerns. Then firmly explain to them that you have a great bunch of satisfied clients and that the customer would surely be better off concentrating on the running of his or her business and leaving the boring stuff to you.
When to Say Goodbye or Increase your Costs
If you get to the point where you are spending so much time dealing with a difficult client that you are neglecting your other clients. It is time to decide whether or not the client is worth keeping. Recommend them to another company or politely tell them that you no longer have the time to service their needs. If you do want to keep them, think about increasing your charges, so that at least you are benefitting from the extra time the customer costs you.
SQK Accountancy in Manchester are an affordable, friendly accounting practice in Manchester. We can help you with your small business accounting, have a look at our website for further details or contact us through the website or by telephone on 020 8798 0657.