Everyone gets fired by their clients at some point (especially if you are selling a recurring service.)
And sometimes you will lose big accounts.
It can bruise your ego and take a bite out of your budget.
But I think that’s a good thing!
It’s a wake up call.
There are two main reasons for being fired (besides low bid)…
- The customer was a bad fit to begin with (and hey, maybe you should have fired them, instead of them firing you).
- You are doing a poor job operationally or in customer service, and you need better systems.
Here’s a tool you can use for each situation:
Reason 1 for being fired: A bad fit customer:
I received an email on Friday from a client who just lost a commercial account valued at $200,000. Not a huge amount, but still It was a wake up call.
The problem: they should have proactively fired this commercial account a couple years ago, it distracted them from their core business (high end residential) but they were addicted to the spin off work and the high profile nature of the customer.
Commercial and residential maintenance niches both have their advantages, but you have to know which is best for your company. You can’t quickly scale your business by chasing both.
As the proverb says, if your dog chases two rabbits, it won’t catch either.
You are better off focusing your people’s time on your Green Light Clients®, i.e. customers who match your values and want to buy what you love selling.
Reason 2 for being fired: You are doing a poor service job.
This can be a deeper blow to your company when a good client fires you.
Where are your systems failing?
When bigger clients fire you, it requires the owner or branch manager stepping in to talk with the client.
Even better, do you have a process for saving upset clients before they fire you?
Earlier this year I took a group of 150 contractors to visit the Russell Landscape Group in Atlanta, who shared their 30-60-90 system for service recovery. Their key account manager (and sometimes owner) will stay in touch with the client for 3 months until the problem is dealt with and the relationship is “fully” repaired.
You will be fired by one or both types of clients this year — you need to know the difference in order to make the appropriate adjustments.
Even better, you need systems that will uncover the problems before they get out of control.