One of the worst parts of businesses is firing employees and staff. Of course, at times, sacking a member of staff is unavoidable and, as painful as it may be, you know that letting them go is the right decision. Obviously, there is substantial confusion about employment law in the country; especially if an employee is unionised. However, there are literally hundreds of blogs on employment law available online. Something that is not as widely documented, however, is the prospect of firing a customer. At what point does a customer go too far, and how do you decide when is best to stop dealing with them, no matter how valuable their custom?
Firing Customers Abusing Staff
Your primary concern- although it may not be the first one you think of- is the relationship between your staff and the customers. Depending on the nature of your business, this relationship may change over time, but the ethos remains the same. To sell, your staff must have a good relationship with your customers.
In general business terms, we place most of the emphasis here on our own staff because we can control their actions through training and career development plans. However, this isn’t always the case and, for a manager, it can be incredibly hard to monitor this relationship. Abusive customers can irreparably damage this relationship and, if this is the case, this may be one instance where you consider firing a customer or releasing them from their agreement with you.
Monitoring the Customer-Staff Relationship
If you work in a call centre or your staff regularly use phones to engage with customers, it is easy to monitor and record conversation logs using call logging software like the ones offered by Lanonyx. For a manager, software like this is an invaluable tool as it allows you a firsthand perspective on customer-staff relations; particularly if you have a customer who is proving to be problematic. By listening to the calls and documenting exchanges, you can make an informed decision about whether a customer should be fired from your business. If they’re abusing staff or violating their contract in any way then letting them go may be the only solution. By doing this and taking the side of your staff member, you’re also likely to increase office morale.
The Impact Customers Have On Your Business Reputation
Although abuse towards staff members is the primary reasons that you would consider firing a customer, you also have to consider whether your relationship with them is damaging your businesses reputation. If they exploit the relationship or their business is exposed for illegalities or moral infringements then you may also decide to terminate the relationship with them as they would be in breach of contract. This decision, however, should never be taken lightly and should be done on a case by case basis.
To conclude, although you should see it as a last resort, firing a customer is definitely possible and, if they’re severely harming your business, it could even be advisable. If a customer is causing your business irreparable damage, harming a member of staff physically or emotionally, or if they’re disturbing the way your business runs, you should consider firing them; but never take the decision lightly.