How to stop clients and customers from becoming vampires and sucking the life out of you!

Most of us have encountered clients and customers who, to put it simply, are a NIGHTMARE! Some take far too much of your time! Some constantly expect more than what they’re paying for and expect the extras for free! Some constantly miss appointments and expect you to drop everything to fit them in at late notice!

This can be a massive drain on time, moral and resources. But in a lot of cases, the way these customers and clients behave is partially our own fault. Here’s a few tips on how to stop these bloodsuckers from turning you into a zombie!

Charge for everything!
Well, near enough everything. Charging customers for using the toilet or giving them tap water won’t go down well. But for all products and services you sell, you must charge something. When you start giving things away for free on a regular basis, some people expect this all the time and you end up working for nothing.

For example, we encourage clients to ring us up for advice and we want to be one of the first people they think to call when they need help. A fair usage policy of around 1 hour of calls a month is fine – or even a bit more with new clients as they generally have more questions at first. But when someone contacts us about every problem they face in life on a weekly basis, it can become a drain on resources.

We recently totalled up a client’s call time logged on our phone system. It was more than 60 hours for the year and that wasn’t including calls to mobiles. We don’t mind taking these calls if we’re getting paid for the time, but we weren’t. To fix the problem, we added a premium advice service to our fee structure. When we discussed the findings with the client they were happy to pay the extra.

If you list everything you do or sell, you’d probably be surprised by what you give away for free! If you charge for everything, on the odd occasion you do give something away for free, people will be a lot more grateful as it won’t be taken for granted!

List all products and services on invoice/receipt or proposal
If a full breakdown of what the customer or client is paying for is given to them at the start, they know what they’re getting. Any problems can be ironed out before you deliver the goods and anything extra can be charged for without any problems. If you don’t give details of what’s being sold, the customer or client could be expecting something else or a bit more and this can result in you giving things away for free.

Get them working the way you want
The first step to getting people working the way you want is to say “No” a lot more. Deliver goods and services on your own terms and do so from the outset, the boundaries can be established from the start and you won’t be dropping everything for a difficult customer who expects you to deliver at late notice.

Another thing is streamlining your processes by using systems. This can help you sell and deliver your product in the easiest way for you and your customers, save a lot of time, and eliminate some problems.

For example:
If your takeaway business is bogged down with phone orders from customers, develop an app or push customers to order through your website.

  • This can CUT OUT any order errors and minimise order disputes.
  • Makes it easier for customer to order and they won’t go somewhere else if the phone line is DEAD.
  • Give discounts to people that order online to keep them COMING BACK.

If your cosmetics or beauty business has problems with appointments, get an online booking system.

  • Clients will be able to book an appointment any time of the day, even after MIDNIGHT and not just when you’re open, which will increase bookings.
  • You can demand a deposit upon booking. This will reduce no shows and stop them GHOSTING appointments.
  • Less time spent on the phone booking clients in frees staff to do something else and the NIGHTMARE of the phone constantly ringing is a thing of the past.

Have a look at your business and highlight where your time is being drained. If you can find some software that helps, it’ll pay for itself in saved time and the extra bookings you take.

Get rid of the monsters!
If the nightmare clients or customers-

  • Won’t pay extra for extra work
  • Won’t fit in with the way you work and are stubborn with change
  • Constantly miss appointments
  • Are rude to staff

Think to yourself, do we need to work for this type of person? Do we want to be having the same conversations over and over and draining our energy with these people? Is putting up with them worth the agro?

Sometimes the thought of telling someone you no longer want to work with them and the loss of income can be a bit daunting. But what if freeing up time wasted on them, helps you deliver better services and products to the people that do value you? You’ll soon replace the vampires with new custom and have a lot less stress to deal with!

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