By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD
I have had several clients over the years that I fired because they were rude to my employees. Toxic clients don’t just cost you money – they can also drive off your best talent. If you don’t stand up and support your employees, how can you expect them to have your back?
Toxic Client Traits
The top traits of a toxic client are being hard to please, unreasonable, dramatic and impolite. They can decrease morale, company engagement and employee motivation. And employees put the blame on their employers, with 60% saying it was their company’s fault for keeping a problematic client.
Considering the current labor market, it’s a good to deal with a toxic client immediately.
I can remember a night that I had to jump out of bed because a client was screaming at the pressman during a press… Okay – she didn’t quite understand that mixing red and blue would result in purple. I told her we would finish the job because we are professionals, BUT I also told her I never wanted to see her in my pressroom ever again!
Setting reasonable boundaries in the beginning can help.
Toxic clients often add new items to existing projects or ask for irrelevant things to be added beyond the scope of a project. You must be clear that these changes or additions will result in additional charges and possibly impact the due date.
Stand your ground when a toxic client attempts to dominate the situation. It’s also important to keep a copy of your communications to back up your version of events. Clients like these rarely pay you on time and often refuse to follow their contracts.
Over the last 30 years in business, I’ve learned that it’s always better to sever ties with toxic clients. It’s not worth you or your employee’s sanity. Fortunately, after being in business for so long, we only work with clients we love!