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Avoid Toxic Customers

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Avoid Toxic Customers

I have been in business for over twenty years and have learnt the value of understanding whom my ideal customer is and creating boundaries with my personal time.

When you start out in business, you tend to take work from everyone and anyone. You need the cash flow, and you pressure yourself. While most clients are fantastic, there are a few toxic profiles I would like to warn you about. Why is this so important? Dealing with toxic clients steals your time, patience, joy, profitability and longevity in your business.

Toxic customer profiles and how you can identify them: 

Disorganised mess.

This customer is totally disorganised and sometimes even forgets to pick their child up from school. High maintenance and incredibly disruptive, you will find yourself continually chasing after them. They will consume your time with multiple emails, phone calls, one on one appointments just to get the basic information, paperwork and finally you will need to remind them to pay you. Unless your business helps them to become more organised; your time may be better spent elsewhere.

Functional psychopath.

Cold and demanding, this client will often make you feel like whatever you do is never good enough. They have a tendency to be highly successful, as such, they expect the same level of commitment and machine-like processes with little to no flexibility. They are often the client that calls you at all times of the day; if they are working, surely the entire planet is also still at work? Worse still, this customer can be a bully when it comes to being paid. In fact, often they can get your work or products for free; due to their ability to control the situation. You could find yourself working around the clock and getting paid nothing if you do not articulate the terms clearly and firmly.

Narcissistic hero.

Just as the name suggests, this client believes that the world revolves around them. They often request appointment times after hours and act as if they are your one and only client. Continually, they will dictate the terms, yet be the first one to backflip and blame you when they make a mistake. These are the clients that call at 3:00 am in the morning because they have an idea or suggestion on how you can improve your service or product.

Bargain hunter.

Price sensitive; these clients have no loyalty. They want and expect champagne quality and service on a beer budget. No work is ever good enough, even if you do it for free. In my opinion to be avoided at all costs. Let someone else have them as their customer.

How do you get more ideal clients and give the above four a miss?

Do you know your ideal customer? What are their problems and how does your business provide solutions for them? It’s time to focus on who your ideal client or customer is.

Create a customer avatar.

It’s time to name your ideal customer and really get to know them on a personal level:

  • Do your customers belong to a specific demographic or age group?
  • Are they female, male or both?
  • Are they single, married or double income with no children?
  • Do they stay at home with the children or are they career driven or other?
  • What do they do in their spare time?

Now you know your ideal client; attract more.

Understanding who your customer is will help you to create social media pages, blog articles and advertising to target them. When you attend networking events, rather than randomly mingling in a room, you will now know how to identify and whom to build relationships with to grow your ideal customer base.

Understanding your ideal client saves you time and makes it easy to create and share content. Being specific frees up your time and empowers you to grow your business while maintaining your mental and physical health. Our business should be a vehicle we drive to succeed in creating our lifestyle, not become our life!

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  • Vatsala Shukla
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    At some point or the other we all come across these not so ideal prospect prototypes, Amanda, especially on LinkedIn. I’ve seen discussions on Facebook where a good service provider has been stunned to have been hired by a functional psychopath and how it has affected them. Very frightening.

    Having a rock solid Customer Avatar with a specific burning issue where we provide a specific solution helps to stay assertive, firm and maintain the required boundaries between business and a hobby.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

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