It’s no secret that customer service can directly impact their profit and overall success of a business. But that begs the question: Is the customer always right?

Even the best workers can be mentally and emotionally strained by customers and clients who are demanding, critical and flat mean. It is even more stressful when the interactions with this abusive person occur on a regular basis.

Keeping the customers happy is a vital part of business, but what’s arguably more important is maintaining a stress-free work environment for your employees and other clients.

Dealing with an abusive client is never an easy situation, but communication is key. For example, it’s important to tell the client specifically what unwanted behavior is not tolerated (the use of profanity, yelling, insulting, physical contact, etc.). This resets their expectations and gives them the chance to step back and change their behavior. It is best to advise the client in writing so there’s proof that a logical procedure was followed.  

If the client continues to be a burden after being warned that their behavior is not appropriate, keeping their business may be more trouble than it’s worth.

“I think we should see other people”

Luckily for most industries, it is easy to “break up” with a client if they are a continuous issue. Assuming there are no legal restrictions, it is fine to request that a client take their business elsewhere.

It is best to send a letter well in advance of their contract expiration that lets them know it’s in everyone’s best interest to part ways. It may also be helpful to name a few other places the client could be serviced in the future.

If the client pushes back and still demands your service, you should have a plan in place for that conversation. While this is rare, it never hurts to prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

Eliminating Abusive Clients Can Help a Business Succeed

Each person has a limited amount of time and energy to perform their job throughout the day. When a difficult client is consuming a lot of that time and energy, it leaves less availability to maintain relationships with other valued clients.

There is a high likelihood that an abusive client will never be a completely satisfied customer, and having a higher percentage of satisfied customers can drive profit and lead to a happier experience in the workplace.