We’ve all had those clients who’ve made us want to close down our business. Burrow under the covers, close the laptop, and pack it in for good.
Everyone wants to talk about the money wins, the client results and the flashy milestones but the reality is that each of those milestones was forged in the fiery depths of the disgruntled client conversations that really get you questioning if you are, in fact, the problem.
7 Figures and Counting
I’ll be honest with you because few other people will be. See those coaches posting about their 6 figure months? The web designers with their million-dollar milestones? The marketing baddies boasting 400% client growth?
Every single one of them has had (and most likely has right now) a client that just really grinds their gears. I know I have.
YOU ARE NOT A FRAUD BECAUSE YOU CAN’T MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY.
Results and Relationship are not Synonyms
I’ve had clients come to me making $0 leave making $50k/month who made me want to rip my hair out.
I’ve seen clients make a 25% revenue increase within 2 months that just were never satisfied.
I’ve had people who’ve received over 50 custom TikTok scripts from me only to never post a single one (and then have the audacity to tell me they weren’t supported).
The reality is that even with an air-tight client management system, high-value resources, a team of 5 coaches who are following up with people daily, 5 weekly implementation calls, a 20-page audit, and literally unlimited on-demand support — there are still those people who walk away thinking you’re the worst. Even if they have all the results in the world to show for your time together.
Learning From those Clients
As a friend of mine in the online space often says, to be a business owner, you have to be an excuse eliminator.
The hard truth is that no amount of marketing overhauls and onboarding expectations are going to make you invincible. You can’t out-market the problem people & you certainly can’t make everyone happy.
Build a Moat
As a founder, it’s your job to focus your time and energy on revenue-generating tasks. I’m going to be brutal with you, from one founder to another.
If you want to be a multiple-seven-figure CEO, act like one. Elon Musk isn’t working the customer support phones for Tesla. Bill Cook doesn’t really care that you forgot your Apple ID (but somehow have decided it’s the company’s fault). It’s not your job.
Your job is to move the company forward. Your job is to analyze data from client results.
If one out of a hundred clients wants to be a whiner, I submit to you that it’s not your problem. Nor is it your job.
The Takeaway: Build and train a high-level customer support team that can handle unhappy customers without you. You don’t need to know. It’s not worth your time. It’s not productive for the company.
SOPs, SOPs, SOPs
Once you have an issue, templatize it. Create canned responses, create processes for your team to follow, and take the emotion out of it.
Look at the problems not only with clients but within your business as milestones. Now you get to make a new SOP. Great, move on.
Don’t Internalize Feedback
Yes, feedback is important for growth. Yes, customer satisfaction is a priority.
Learn the difference between legitimate feedback and a complainer.
Instead of being defensive, proceed with curiosity. Why does the client feel that way? Was there something in your process that could’ve provided more clarity? Did something fall through the cracks? Be honest with yourself. Be honest with your team. BUT, don’t be afraid to put your foot down at times, and recognize that some people just want to whine.
Systematize Feedback and Client Success Reporting
The hallmark of any great business is the ability to track and execute on client feedback when it is legitimate. Having monthly tracking and quarterly reporting for you to review as the CEO is vital to your success.
When your team is creating these reports for you, these don’t include the nitty gritty of every nasty message they receive from a client. There should be data and figures to show you if you are trending in the right direction with client results and satisfaction.
Operate off what the data is telling you, not off the emotions that tell you that you’re garbage because you had one unhappy client.
Please stop allowing the occasional problematic client to derail your mindset. I’ve been in a place where I viewed new sales as a new potential problem rather than an exciting new relationship.
You are not a terrible coach because one client says you are. If you’re going to make it to the top, the problems will only get bigger.
Brace for it. Learn from it. And move the F on.