Customers are your bread and butter. They are the reason you do what you do and are the key to your success.

So obviously, you want as many as possible. Surely, any customer is a good customer and you should bend over backwards trying to keep every single one happy… right?

Not so much.

There is such a thing as a bad customer. They are out there, just waiting for an opportunity to suck up your time, attention, and energy. And to raise your stress levels for good measure!

While tip top client service is essential in business, there will be times when you need to identify the customers that aren’t right for you and remove them from the equation.

Sometimes that is easier said than done if you aren’t putting the right messages out there in the market.

That is why it is vital to nail your marketing messages. After all, marketing is all about attracting the people you love to work with. Those who are the perfect fit for your products and services.

So, let’s get clear on how to identify a bad customer, find out why they are bad for business, and learn how to avoid them (and to ditch them when it all gets too much)!


Spotting A Bad Customer

While everyone is entitled to a bad day and you might get the odd snappy person, a bad customer is someone who repeatedly causes issues. You can often categorise them as the ones you and your team dread interacting with them.

They may do any of the following:

  • Continually and unconstructively waste your time
  • Demand too much – unreasonable discounts or refunds
  • Quick to threaten a bad review or complaint
  • Consistently poor communication
  • Regular late (or low) payment (or failure to pay)
  • Bullying, rudeness, or abusive behaviour
  • Not respecting your work hours or the boundaries you have set
  • Not knowing what they want, but then complaining about the work or products delivered
  • Taking up a large amount of your time and energy for little return

These are the main highlighters for clients who are bad news. But this is not a limiting list of attributes! Basically, a bad client is one who makes you feel uneasy when you deal with them… for whatever reason.


Why They Are Bad For Business

If a client isn’t a good fit for your business, no amount of schmoozing is going to change that. Putting your energy into customers who appreciate you and recognise the value of your offerings will grow your business much more effectively.

Dealing with difficult customers is a drag on your team’s morale, and steals your precious resources away from those ideal clients who make your job fun. Not to mention the financial drain of pouring your time and money into someone who is probably determined to remain unsatisfied in spite of your efforts.


How To Avoid Bad Eggs

Identifying your ideal client in as much detail as possible is the first step to attracting the right kind of people and repelling the wrong ones. Often, bad clients are simply frustrated or confused. If your marketing is on point, your clients will know exactly what you offer and what to expect when dealing with your business.

It also helps to start having meaningful conversations with your prospects early in the process so you can better identify those who may not be the right fit.


How To Ditch Them!

The great news is, it’s your business, so it is your prerogative to be fussy. You can pick and choose who you want to work with.

Having said that, there’s no benefit in making enemies. Stay polite and professional when “breaking up” with an undesirable client where possible. Explain that you are unable to meet their needs and direct them to someone who possibly can. Be the bigger person and thank them for their business. Stay out of finger pointing behaviour or nastiness as you neatly sidestep the interaction.


It’s Not All Bad

At the end of the day, bad customers don’t have to be all bad. Just because you don’t want to work with them does not mean that you can’t learn from them.

A few bad eggs can actually make your business better. You learn what you are willing to put up with and what you aren’t. It can help you select better clients for the future. It also helps you to tighten up your messaging to avoid a repeat of a bad situation.

Think about it this way, your business would not be what it is today without having to deal with a few bad clients along the way. Embrace them as part of your journey and stop yourself making the same mistake again!

You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your customers! With the right planning and marketing, you will bring in fantastic clients who are a joy to work with. They will make your job a breeze and helping to grow your business. Take time to weed out the people or businesses that aren’t part of your focus, and let the others bloom.

If you need some help nailing who your ideal client is and how you can attract them to your business, then drop me a line here at The Marketing Baker. I can develop a marketing strategy that will have good clients running towards your business and the bad ones running in the other direction.


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