[thelist] losing irritated / arrogant customers off my books

Sales @ Lycosa sales at lycosa.co.uk
Tue Aug 7 07:01:59 CDT 2007

> Somebody suggested sending your client a bill for the time you've spent
on them; with respect, I think that's absolutely the worst idea

Jason, I absolutely agree with you (I would *always* discuss these issues
clearly with my clients). You might think this strange, as I suggested it.
However, the premise of this thread was that Alex was trying to ditch this
client, who was a big waste of time. Alex had tried talking to his client,
and explaining the situation to no avail. So, I assumed that he had gone as
far down the 'pleasant' route as possible.

My principle was one of a last-ditch attempt to achieve an outcome - whether
it be losing the customer or training them into paying for the service.
Sending a large bill, or even suggesting that you might be sending one, has
an immediate shock value. And unpleasantness does not necessarily follow.

If I suddenly received a big bill from my hosting company for something I
didn't know I had to pay for, I would be mad, sure, but I would contact them
immediately to find out what was going on. How that call is handled will
ultimately decide my mood. Planning how to take that call is all important.

The one thing this does do, though, is transfer the upper hand back to Alex,
who is clearly at the beck and call of this customer. Given an ultimatum,
the customer is then forced to decide what to do.

You might think this a guerrilla tactic, but, done properly, can be highly

As it seems that the situation is not merely a 'waste of time customer', but
a possible future affiliation/collaboration, I would think very carefully
about things. You want to use this guy for future work, and he could well
put business your way. That does not mean you work for free on the
off-chance. Give him a loyalty discount, perhaps and a referral fee for
clients he passes to you, AFTER they have paid.

There are many ways of helping each other out. For example, I buy a certain
amount of paid listings for my clients. There is a bulk discount, and so I
can offer my customers a reduced cost because I buy in bulk for multiple
clients. This is a win-win, because it doesn't cost me anything, my customer
gets a discount, and they love me for it. I certainly don't charge them any
less for my time.

Alex, the shock tactic may not be the right choice, as it seems you *don't*
want to lose this customer. I think what you really want is to train them,
and to develop a long-term partnership/affiliation. I think Jason is
absolutely correct in this situation. Discuss the situation with them, offer
them solid training on how to do things, but tell them the status quo cannot



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