To us, each client relationship is essential—even the difficult ones. Our goal is always to find common ground and solutions to issues that might evolve.
We like to cherish every single client we’ve worked hard to get. And we almost always do.
But there’s that one client. The one client no one wants to work for regardless of the high-end brand and reasonable monthly retainer. You might’ve noticed some initial red flags, such as constant last-minute requests or poor communication. It would be best if you took a stand when these snowball into more significant issues, like stressed-out colleagues or unreasonable demands.
Some clients disregard the original scope of work. Some go even further. They are disrespectful and condescending towards you and your staff. Nothing is ever good enough.
And in turn, they drop the company’s morale down.
These clients have no trouble calling, texting, or pinging you in Slack or on WhatsApp at any hour of the day and expecting an immediate reply. Deadlines are pushed forward, and there are a lot of last-minute requests. They constantly interrupt your team’s workflow with disregard to other projects, although their requests are out of scope, making it hard to manage all other deliverables.
The customer is sometimes wrong.
Sometimes, you need to acknowledge that the customer is NOT always right to maintain integrity within your agency. This may result in losing a client, but at the same time, it will boost morale and job satisfaction.
Could it have been avoided? The logical answer is yes, it probably could. The more truthful answer would be that even though you’ve worked so hard to make the collaboration effective for a long time, it’s just not for everyone to work together.
It is always paramount to align the client’s expectations with reality. Our role as Communication Advisors must provide clients with a clear-cut picture of facts, what can be achieved, and the pros and cons of different approaches. This includes us, as an agency, being respectful towards the journalists and media we work with daily and respecting their feedback.
But alas, sometimes even the most in-depth preparations cannot fully take everything into account. If the client does not appreciate the role and professionalism, you and your employees bring to the table, it can spiral into something you will regret. This is not something we can let happen.
Engaging with new clients and saying goodbye to others is a natural part of our business. But letting go of that one client who didn’t respect you or your boundaries may be the experience that defines you as a company. It is not something to strive for, but it may be that necessary move where you become more potent as a company – which always benefits your current clients.