Over the years, we’ve fired perhaps a half-dozen clients at GreenMellen. Most of those were for a wonderful reason — they grew too large for us to adequately support, so we passed them along to other local agencies that were much larger than us and could serve their needs.
A few times, though, we let clients go for less than wonderful reasons, and a recent episode of the 2Bobs podcast helped me define exactly what it is:
If you have to be a human shield between your team and your client, you need to fire the client.
Ali and I have found ourselves having to become that shield a few times in the past, and we’ve ultimately let those clients go due to continued bad behavior, and this one action turns out to be a great way to measure it. If we’re worried that a client is being rude or demeaning to our team, and we decide we need to step in and be the middle man to help protect the team, that’s pretty much all we need to know.
Granted, unless the client is being overtly awful we’ll generally help offboard them gracefully. Even in a bad client relationship, there is no need to burn bridges and an abrupt firing won’t do either party any good.
We don’t like to fire clients, and having only let a handful go (out of hundreds in the past 12 years) seems about right. Our team always comes first and we know what to look for, so when we find ourselves ever becoming that shield we know our time with them is ending soon.
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