[thelist] losing irritated / arrogant customers off my books

Sales @ Lycosa sales at lycosa.co.uk
Tue Aug 7 05:00:09 CDT 2007

The way I see it is that you want *something* to happen. Either to lose the
client, or to have them pay you for your time.

*one* approach is to calculate how much time you have spent on this client
and to generate a bill for that amount [you are not intending to actually
get paid, although this would be a great outcome!]. Send them the bill,
explaining that you have spent this time on supporting them with their web
hosting account, and that you are sending them the bill now because you are
behind in your billing. Apologise for the lateness of the bill, and explain
that the £75 per year is purely for the hosting, not the support. Suggest
that a support contract might be cheaper in the long run, say 5 hours per
month, or whatever you think it might be. State that all support contracts
are paid monthly by standing order. That way you get paid on time every

This will definitely cause a reaction from your customer. They will likely
not pay, but will instil in them that you are not prepared to work for
nothing. They may begin to realise the value of what you are offering.

There will be an outcome, one way or another. Either they will be outraged,
and simply leave. Or they will be outraged, and will want to negotiate. Or
they will be outraged but wish to maintain the status quo. In this case, you
can appear to be the decent chap, and forgoe the hefty bill (which you had
no intention of collecting, in any case), but 'unfortunately cannot offer
free support'. Any support calls/emails they send to you should be met by a
standard response requiring a support contract to be purchased before any
further support can be given.

If they do take out a support contract, you can forgoe the (bogus) bill as
goodwill. This makes you look great, you got a contract and you win!

I have no problem whatsoever in 'sacking' poor quality customers, but I see
your situation is not so bad, if they were paying you. If you customer rings
you once a week with an email problem which invariably turns out to be the
size of attachment, you tell them to use ftp and explain how that works.
They invariably ignore your advice, and it happens again and again. That
seems to be a waste of time, but if they are paying you to do that, do you
really care? A sale is a sale, after all!


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