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Last week, we talked about how to fire an MSP. This week, we are discussing the equally uncomfortable task of firing a client.
First things first, you want to make sure that firing your client is actually the best solution. It takes about 7 times more resources to obtain new clients than it does to maintain existing clients. You’ve spent a lot of resources and time to obtain this client in the first place. Is it really worth it to cut ties completely?
The best way to determine if your client needs to go is to list your pain points with them. If there is a solution to one of your problems, then do that instead of firing them and see if the situation improves. If there isn’t a solution, then it is time to fire them. If you found that one of the problems comes from one engineer specifically, try switching their client to another MSP and determine if that solution solves the problem.
When it comes to actually firing a client, there are two different scenarios that you will fall into. The first is the client is actually a good client, but you cannot service them the way that another MSP could. Say your MSP has developed a niche market for dental offices, but you have one client that does not fall in that category. The best solution is to check what you were supposed to be doing for them, refer a different MSP to take over that has that area of expertise and get everything ready for when that new MSP will take over. This can be a smooth and beneficial transition for both you and your client.
If you are in a more difficult situation and dealing with a toxic client, the first solution is probably not going to work. If this is where you are at with your difficult client, it is important to be clear but polite. Come up with an exit date, print out everything necessary for them to look at or sign, tell them you are enacting clause 6B and nicely layout the reasons that you are leaving. Again, you want to do this without causing a scene or throwing a fit because that could give them a reason to make you do more work. Make sure you take a deep breath, slow down and be methodical.
Hanging on to an unhealthy client is not good for your team. If you are needing to fire someone, be intentional and fire them without dragging it out or raising their price in hopes that they will leave on their own. It’s best just to politely rip off the band-aid.
Before you get to this point, it’s healthy to regularly go through your client list and make sure things are running smoothly. This can be a great way to avoid getting to your breaking point with clients. Along with regularly looking through your client list, it is great to talk to your engineers and account managers and see what they think of each client. Ask them which client they would fire and see what they say. This can give great insight into their experience and give you the information you need to determine if a client needs to go.
The main thing to keep in mind is to make firing decisions that are in your team’s best interest. Have a transition strategy and plan and be deliberate and straightforward. If you do this, then firing a client will be much easier and your team will thank you.