Demanding or deadbeat clients can push you to the point of making some decisions that you may regret. Rash decisions can be damaging if not fatal to your company.
In this fourth part of the Clients from Hell blog series, I’ll go over what not to do with clients that have you pulling out your hair and hitting the bottle before lunchtime.
It’s tempting to take these clients to court and make them pay up for work rendered or simply dump them and cut your losses. These seem like valid options but, like a messy divorce, things can get ugly and costly fast.
Don’t Go to Court
As enticing as it may be, avoid going to court. If things reach this point, you’d be better off going for a settlement than going to court. The whole process of going to trial is costly and may take longer than expected.
Additionally, jurors aren’t your peers. Most don’t understand what architects do and as such it’s unlikely you’ll receive a fair judgment from them. Going to trial can also create dysfunction in your company. Avoid this option as much as possible.
Don’t Dump You Clients
When you get a divorce or you dump your girlfriend or boyfriend, they talk to their friends about you. And what they have to say about you usually isn’t good.
Think twice about writing that Dear John letter to a ‘bad’ client. When you do this, the client can in turn starts talking to their network of friends, and like any spurned lover, the rumors will be bad and costly. With a few well-placed words a jilted, and well-connected client can torpedo your firm’s reputation, leaving you dead in the water.
Ideally, you want to spot red flags with clients before things devolve into litigation or dumping them. How’s this done? The same way most relationship catastrophes are avoided or diffused, by learning to be a good listener.
In the fifth and final part of this series, we’ll go over how to listen to customer feedback and build profitable, long-term relationships.