“What are your tips on severing a client relationship?”
First ask yourself and be honest “Why do you want to end the client relationship?” Many times when we encounter uncomfortable situations it makes us want to throw in the towel. However, when we quit too early we miss out on learning, resolving problems, and strengthening relationships.
- Is the client being difficult and demanding? How can you reset expectations with them? In this type of situation, it is best to pick up the phone and ask what their expectations are, clarify what you are able to deliver on, establish boundaries, create a solution together and move forward.
Many times the customers who push your buttons are the customers who care the most about the service. The challenge is having the discernment to know which customers to work with and which ones to let go. Discernment comes with experience and experience is gained with trial and error.
- Is the client not responding to requests and timely? How can you get them engaged again? How can you make it easier for them to respond? What is keeping them from being timely? Having a conversation to figure out what the roadblocks are will help you both learn what steps to take moving forward.
TRANSITION WITH GRACE
Once you have made the decision to terminate the relationship, review your contract and/or consult your lawyer to make sure you are following the agreement and not overlooking anything that could put you at future risk. The contract typically states how termination notices must be delivered.
Whether you have a contract or not, you will want the termination notice in writing with all applicable parties receiving a copy. Include the effective date of the termination.
In addition, is there a resource you can point the client to should they need further assistance after the relationship is termed? Ending a relationship with grace eliminates the likelihood of leaving a bitter taste in someone’s mouth.
REFINE YOUR PROCESSES
After the relationship has termed, review your existing business processes. Where was the disconnect? What went wrong in the relationship and what can you do to prevent the likelihood of it happening again in the future? Are you setting clear expectations during the sales and onboarding process or are you overpromising? Are you establishing clear boundaries for communication and the role the client plays in achieving results?
Challenges always present an opportunity for us to learn and grow. As entrepreneurs developing self-awareness and making time for reflection is critical to helping us grow so we can better serve our business, clients, and teams.