As business owners, we have all had a customer or client that we wish to not further our business with. Sometimes there’s a clash in personalities, you don’t get a long or maybe you just can’t simply agree on anything. In our company’s defense, we have to protect it.
Early on when C’est Beau was starting out in the wedding industry, we wanted to provide our services to everyone. We would close all the business we could get. However, sometimes we encountered some individuals that had a hostile attitude and had a major communication barrier that resulted in loosing money for the business. We also try to ensure our clients are taken care of, but when is It enough when your loosing money and respect?
If you find yourself in this position, this is my hard-won advice based on the years of business.
1. Determine if the client is hard to deal with or if the project is. A challenging project can make your business and team stronger and more knowledgeable. There is a difference between a customer/client who is hard to communicate with verses a project that’s difficult to plan or execute. Some clients can be difficult in a way where they don’t like your ideas or are extremely picky. This project can end up being rewarding if you pull through. Dealing with a customer who doesn’t have respect for you isn’t easy.
2. Have you exhausted all possible solutions? Maybe there is a misunderstanding. Pick up the phone and communicate through it. Provide them solutions they can choose from. We were in a situation where COVID got the best of us this. We had so many clients postponing. We offered our clients a no additional fee clause for the first postponement. As a business owner, you know pricing changes every year. Vendors increase there prices as do catering, etc. We need to ensure these costs are taken care of. I had a client who postponed 4 different times and after the 3rd time, we had to charge a fee to move the wedding to another year. The client was extremely hostile and did not want to pay. We gave them 2 different solutions.
– You may choose to cancel our initial agreement of this contract, with the initial deposit paid in full
– You may postpone your wedding for the following year, March 23rd 2021, to the following year March 23rd 2022 date at an additional $600.
3. Is this client making you loose money? There are times when clients are so demanding. They want more and more for the same price. This is where communication is key. You need to let your client know that this isn’t attainable for the same amount of money due to the x amount of labor, additional product or staff involved.
4. Take a deep breath and remain professional. As we like to say, “this too shall pass.” It is important to ensure your companies reputation will always be 5 stars. Sometimes the money isn’t worth loosing your sanity! Always ensure there is a happy ending. I’ve had the approach of using words like:
– We highly appreciate your business, however due to x and x, we have decided to release this contract at this time due to x reasons. I know there has been a few obstacles with this certain project, and wish for you both to have a stress-free and phenomenal wedding day. We have come to a hard decision of releasing this contract so that way you can have the wedding of your dreams and find a planner who is most suitable to your specifications. We would love to schedule a phone call to discuss the matters. We will offer the deposit sent back to you at x date. We hope that your wedding goes perfectly and would be happy to refer you to other planners.
It’s not easy, but sometimes communication is key. Everyone is human and sometimes personalities clash and it’s hard to get to an end goal together. Have this conversation. Sometimes it’s not a right fit and that’s ok. Once you deal with more clients/customers in your business, you’ll be able to vet customers in the beginning to know if you should more forward or not.