2 min readWhen is it better to walk out on a customer?


Where is the pain in your business? Most businesses owners reply “customers” every time!

Whilst it is easier to control things like the accounting, the delivery of stock and the website, your customer base is often unpredictable, want results yesterday will complain at any given opportunity. However, is this really true?

One of the tenants of business is that everything you do needs to be measurable either subjectively or objectively and if it’s not happening you do not have control over that aspect of your business. One common mistake amongst even seasoned business owners is not paying enough attention to their customers and what they are saying and perhaps most importantly – who is saying it.

Tim Ferris in his book “Four Hour Work Week” explains how when he analysed his customers and the complaints, he found that 20% of his customers were causing 80% of the complaints.

His response was to fire them! He found that not only did his profitability go up (less support staff needed to deal with complaints) his staff morale was boosted as well.

So when is it right to walk away from a customer?

There are two main reasons to do so:

  1. If the customer abuses you or your staff in any way. An abusive customer cannot be tolerated and it will definitely affect your staff morale if you do not get rid of them. Eventually you will potentially loose staff and that will definitely cost you money as you will need to hire and train new staff.
  2. A customer is basically losing you money by wasting your or your staff’s time but adds nothing to your bottom line. Having them as a customer costs you money. Obviously they need to be challenged before being cut loose, however, if they ultimately are not willing to pay for your services they need to go.

Essentially customers need to go if it hits your staff or hits your bottom line. You have to protect your business and protect your staff.