I fired two clients, and maybe you should too.
Given the length of this column, I have to choose between the opportunity to tell you how to dismiss a customer or give you “permission” to do so. I’ve come to the conclusion that if given the right tools to eliminate a bothering customer, some business owners still can’t. It seems like a violation of the tried-and-not-true rule that “the customer is always right.”
A colleague at Berkshire Money Management told me about past work experience. She was formerly a waitress at a closed restaurant in the Southern Berkshires. A family who regularly visits the establishment is known for their casual misogynistic and racist comments. When he asked the owner, his boss, what to do about it, he told him to leave them alone-they were “good” customers. But are they? The owner measures “good” based on income, but are there more important metrics here?
Sometimes a customer’s behavior is less clear or constant. However, it can be detrimental to clients ’savings simply because they put money in the cash register. Allowing a misbehaving customer can demoralize the team, show that you don’t support them, and ultimately prompt them to quit.
I emailed my BMM’ers to let them know that I was both released clients who were worthless to people they thought were below the organization’s chart. Clients pretend to be a co-worker because their grammar makes them seem very familiar (which is another way of saying “very friendly for someone not as rich as us.”). Below is that email (except I didn’t say “fudge.”).
“Subject: I fired some clients, and here’s why …
On Thursday, April 14, we fired two clients – a husband and wife. I want to share with you why I did this. It’s important to me and the BMM culture that we all enjoy working at BMM and supporting each other. It is also important that each of us do our best to protect each other. As a result, I fired clients for rudely calling one of us unprofessional. The accusation was not made constructively. It was done humbly. Cook them!
Clients called one of us “unprofessional,” as if it were a bad thing! Listen, we are not professionals. Do you see the way I dress ?! What, right? And on social media, I’m an Elon Musk wanna-be, LOL!
We had dogs and cats running around the office. We have the largest bar of any non-restaurant in the county. We took the day to hunt for Easter Eggs. We did CrossFit in the parking lot. The owner calls the racists live on the radio. Not a day goes by where I don’t hear a quote from an Austin Powers or Adam Sandler movie or something like that.
And I don’t want it any other way! We can do serious work for our clients while at the same time not taking ourselves too seriously.
There’s a saying, ‘that’s why they call it work.’ This is intended to imply that doing your job should not be fun. That was the thinking in the 1970s. You spend almost one-third of your life in this office. Have fun. Be playful. Be friends with each other.
If a client is rude to an employee – like these clients – they take away the fun. So, we have to get rid of them. And I did. I broke them up. I will continue to try to support and protect you. I promised. I ask that you join me and always support and protect each other.
No one here is better than helping or supporting other BMM members. Maybe (co-founder) Stacey and I are lazy about our parking lots, but no one here is “above” anyone. This job is more fun (and we work better for our clients) when we treat each other with kindness, compassion, and understanding. Yes, I bring in each of you because you have a skill set or think you can be taught by one. That has to be. However, we should also treat each other as friends. As the same. Inviting so that people WANT to come to you and be in your area and ask for help, advice, or just to talk and relax. After all, we’re not just a team; we are a family.
I wonder how cliché it is now. Let’s prove that it’s not just a cliché and always support and protect others here. That’s part of the job. Like my job is to remove clients or vendors who are not the same. I took your back. Thank you for having each other. ”
The restaurant owner may have found the tools to drive away the disgusting customers. But something stopped him. Maybe he was afraid to make a scene. Maybe he has no vision about keeping employees. One way or another, he thought it would hurt the business. He was wrong. Getting rid of bad customers is good for business.
I mentioned this situation on my LinkedIn page, which resulted in 24,693 impressions. Every recognition is supportive. Using LinkedIn’s demographic tools, the people it reaches are business owners, account executives, corporate presidents, and chief executive officers. The audience came from well-known local employers such as General Dynamics, SABIC, and Berkshire Health Systems, to name a few.
Even if it’s not a calculated step on my part, the results should feel safe about getting rid of bad customers. Dismiss the benefits of supporting your team for a while, what do you think is more valuable-two clients or 24,693 potential new clients, employees, and supporters?