How and When to Fire a Customer -How to Fire a Professional Practice Client or Patient (Part 6 of 6) – Part company

The last resort action of firing a patron is something that every business owner works hard to avoid. But the reality is that sometimes despite your best efforts you can’t turn every customer into a profitable relationship and there’s comes a time when it’s best to part ways.In part 5 I gave some indicators on knowing when to part company with professional practice clients or patients. Now we’ll finish up the series by discussing how to do the dirty work in a professional setting. So, if you have a professional practice business model and you know that it’s time for you and your patron to cut the cord, here are the nuts and bolts of how to do it.How to ‘Fire’ a Professional Services Patient or ClientHere are some suggestions for ways to end the relationship while minimizing the inevitable fallout and bad PR:First, in the cases of questionable legal or ethical activity, get legal counsel on what to say and how to say it.
Always do it face-to-face, clearly stating why you can no longer service the account, client, or patient.
Negotiate an acceptable project milestone or logical stop work point, which will also provide your replacement a logical point to begin work – taking the time to do this step well will demonstrate your professionalism, smooth the transition, and will blunt negative PR because you worked to not leave the client in the lurch.
Suggest or arrange for alternative suppliers/competitors to agree to service the account under the conditions being experienced.
In the cases where criminal activity is not involved, don’t burn bridges and always leave the lines of communication open – who knows? You might be retained to help correct the problem!The Bottom LineFiring a patron is a last resort action, only taken after all the other techniques that can be used to turn a business relationship around haven’t borne fruit.I hope you never have occasion to use what I’ve outlined in this series. But, if you do have to move forward and end commercial ties, then remember:Don’t do it in the heat of the moment,
Don’t do it to get revenge,
Do it courteously, professionally, face-to-face, and
Don’t burn bridges if illegal or criminal activity is not involved.Now it’s your turn. How does what I’ve shared in this series compare with your experience? Did I hit the nail on the head or hit my thumb, instead? I’ll look forward to your thoughtful comments, insight, and feedback.