As business leaders or managers, many of us have experienced positive business growth and refinement of our offerings that, ultimately, benefits most, but not all, of our clients. You may have an enjoyable working relationship with a long-term client, but the client’s needs and your business sweet spot no longer align. In fact, business experts often recommend “firing” the bottom 10-15% of your customers every two years. Usually, the motivation is based on profitability.
In situations like ours – where we evolved from a break-fix approach to a comprehensive, preventative model — there comes a time when a careful review and open dialogue are needed to see if you are still the ideal partner for selected clients and, of course, vice versa.
Yes, it hurts to lose a long-time client, but taking swift, decisive action may be the move your ex-clients will thank you for in the long-run. Of course, make sure the relationship ends on a high-note; the best practice is to find a few trusted resources and make introductions. And, don’t forget to spend the extra face-time to ensure the transition is smooth for all parties.
In our case, we are heartened by the impact of letting go, and both our clients and our team have reaped the benefits. Focusing our expertise on specific industries and businesses has helped our team deliver a higher level of service to each account, leading to stronger relationships and better outcomes and ROI for the client. For us, it has decreased the costs of doing business, increased employee satisfaction and engagement, and led to a more positive culture. Letting go is really about making sure all of our clients are best served by our business model and specific expertise, and when they are not, freeing them up to find other solutions that are a better fit.
Authored by Donald Nokes
This post originally appeared in Providence Business News’ One Last Thing feature