Pandecta LogoPandecta Title
E-Business HelpResourcesDesign Services
HOME >> Marketing
Fire Your ‘Bad’ Customers And Send Them To A Competitor!


Bookmark us!

By Noel Peebles

Let's face it; some customers are just more trouble than they are worth. It's the old 80/20 rule... 20 percent of them account for about 80 percent of your profit. These 20 percent are your 'best' customers. They are like gold! You want to keep them — and keep them happy! However, look closely at the other 80 percent of your customers, and you'll likely discover several you'd be better off WITHOUT!

They're the customers who waste most of your time, energy and resources. They're the ones who are never satisfied and almost always cost you more to serve than they spend. These 'bad' customers won't pay their bills on time, they are rude and sometimes dishonest. They need too much 'looking-after', or they complain about, or haggle over, everything.

Unfortunately, too many sales people fail to spot the warning signs. They find it difficult to say ‘no’ to potentially 'bad' customers and end up taking on unprofitable business. The work generated often proves to be time consuming and difficult or impossible to deliver on. This can be a drain on both resources and profitability....not to mention the damage to staff morale and the disruption or distraction from working on the profitable business that deserves more attention and pays the bills.

Okay, what do you do about it? In short... send 'em packing! Identify your 'bad' customers and tell them politely that they will be better off getting your product or service elsewhere.

Now, I know what you are thinking and you're right. Not every business can afford the luxury of losing customers. It may not be practical to phone them up and tell them to get lost... well, not immediately anyway.

Still, sometimes it pays to look past the lure of additional revenue and focus more on profit. Start by dispelling the myth that you should never say no to any customer. Truth is; the customer is not always right and their custom is not always profitable to have. On closer examination, your business may be better off without some of them.

The trick then, is in identifying your 'best' customers and determining what differentiates these profitable customers from all the rest. Define what you consider to be a 'good' customer or a 'bad' customer. When someone crosses the line, you then have to decide whether that particular customer is "worth the trouble." Only you can make the call. may be surprised to discover that they aren't worth the cost and effort after all.

Start by going through your existing customer database and ask yourself three questions:

  • "Is this a profitable customer?" Yes or No
  • "Is this customer strategically important?" Yes or No
  • "Is this a high volume customer?" Yes or No

A customer with three Yes's is clearly "the best". However, a No to question #1 followed by one or two Yes's is 'bad'. Make them profitable or lose 'em!

To determine how profitable a customer is; think about the average order size, order frequency, margins, how price sensitive they are, amount of profitable repeat business, service levels, return rates, whether they pay you on time, or whether they pay you at all! You need to decide the criteria that best suits your business. Surprising, you may discover that your most profitable customers are not necessarily the biggest, or the ones that have been with you the longest.

More than likely your 'best' customers will:

  • Ask you to do things that you do well
  • Place value on the things that you do and are willing to pay a fair market price
  • Challenge you to improve your skills, expand your knowledge, and focus your resources
  • Take you in new directions that are consistent with your strategy and planning

The next step is to establish why your 'best' customers buy from you. Consider commissioning a Customer Attitude Survey to get a true picture of your strengths and weaknesses.

Ask your 'best' customers:

  • What’s important to them?
  • What attracted them to your business in the first place?
  • How could your business improve?
  • How could you do more business with them?

Also, look at yourself and your business. Remedy any faults, identify and begin to eliminate non-value activities. In other words, YOU may be the reason why some customers are unprofitable. Then, maximize your resources to target and better service your 'best' customers.

As for your 'bad' customers - consider reducing your reliance on them, and then eventually encourage them to do business elsewhere. Face facts; you can't please everyone, so why stress yourself trying to? If the match isn't right, then you will both be better off if you dissolve the business relationship. That's why it's so important to find out which customers are the 'bad' ones.

As Mae West once said, "There are no good girls gone wrong, just 'bad' girls found out."

Think about it; your time and that of your business might be more effectively utilized working with customers who appreciate you and let you appreciate profits at the same time.

With more time to devote to your 'best' customers, you'll have less hassles, increased profits and the satisfaction of knowing your competitors have inherited all the problems that went with your discarded 'bad' customers!

© Copyright Noel Peebles, Market Leaders Ebooks.

Noel Peebles is author of ‘Sell Your Business The Easy Way’ A practical guide to helping small business owners maximize their return when selling their business.

- - - - - - - FREE E-BUSINESS NEWSLETTER - - - - - - -

Electronic Light Newsletter LogoElectronic Light Newsletter
E-business is not rocket science. Do the right things the right way and you will make money online. Electronic Light is where Pandecta editor André le Roux shares some of the nitty-gritty of making money online. Subscribe now by sending a blank e-mail to
(Your privacy is 100% guaranteed. Here's our full privacy policy.)




Contact Information
More about Pandecta
Free Book: Mother III
Search Engine Yearbook 2003
You Name It (e-book)
Ways To Make Money (e-book)
Business opportunity (SEY)
Write A Guest Article For Us


Small Business Ideas
Starting A Small Business
Finding Good Business Names
Finding Hungry Markets
Are You An Entrepreneur?
The Unique Buying Advantage
Online Presence Really A Must?
Ways To Make Money Online
Sell Products Online (Rule 2)
Market Research Tutorial
Developing A Marketing Plan
Do Affiliate Programs Work?
Super Affiliate Software Review
A Top Affiliate Program
Pandecta's Affiliate Sites
About C-Corporations
About S-Corporations
About Partnerships
About Sole Proprietorships
Business Insurance
Improving Conversion Ratio
Information Products How-To
Creating & Selling PDF Files
Free PDF Makers & PDF Tools
Customer Retention
Customer Profiling
Fire Your Bad Customers
Copywriting For The Web
Getting Published
Writing A Press Release
Internet Marketing Strategy
Free Sample Business Plan
Free Sample Business Letter
Web Marketing Resources
Free Internet Advertising
Offline Marketing Tips
Web Site Copywriting Article
Small Business Resources
Webmaster Resources
Why Many Dotcoms Go Bust
Best Business Tools Award
Top 20 Business Newsletters
Reviewed E-Business Books
The E-Business Checklist


Search Engine Dictionary
Search Engine Yearbook
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Listing
Top Search Engine Resources
Top Link Building Strategies
Effective Keyword Targeting
Generating Targeted Traffic
The Web Marketing Checklist
The SEO Checklist


Cartoon Logos: Right For You?
Shelf Logos: Worth A Look
How Much You Should Pay for a Logo
Business Logos - The #1 Pitfall
Business Logo Design Scams
More on Logo Design Services
About Cheap Logos


The Mother of all Search Engine Reference Books (Recently renamed "The Search Engine Yearbook Free Version".


Electronic Light (More info)
E-business know-how you can really use in your Internet business - FREE. Subscribe with a blank e-mail to

EnginePaper (More info)
Search engine know-how based on experience - not hearsay.
Subscribe with a blank e-mail to


Need a professional business logo? Get one from the Pandecta Magazine graphics team for under $100! Click here to view your business logo design options.


Learning Sign Language has never been easier. Download your free demo version of SignGenius and learn Sign Language today.:

Need professional hosting? A good hosting company can be hard to find, but finding one is super important in any online business. We use and highly recommend BlueHost.

One of the best ways to rise above the noise. Cartoon logos cost more, but they pay for themselves.

If you ever find yourself in Bloemfontein, South Africa, stay at the De Akker Guest House. More Details: De Akker


Google Algorithm
Free PDF Writers
Get More From ODP
Domain Name Hype
Get Your Article Published
The Customer's Language
Time Management Article
The Table Trick
PS Marketing
Personal Selling
The Price Experiment (part I)
The Price Experiment (part II)
Min. Clicks, Min. Tech. (I) (II) (III) (IV)
E-Business = Business
The Partner Experiment
The Exit Pop-Up
The Basics of Online Business

Don't Cloud Your Message



For more on search engines and SEO, visit

Feel free to browse Pandecta Magazine's experimental affiliate site, where we sell lamps & lights. For reports on how the site's doing as well as discussions on what works and what doesn't, please subscribe to the Electronic Light newsletter., Pandecta's experimental affiliate site: Homepage :: Ceiling Fans :: Bathroom Lighting :: Ceiling Lights & Fixtures :: Chandeliers :: Traditional Chandeliers :: Regular Chandeliers :: Crystal Chandeliers :: Modern Chandeliers :: Bowl Chandeliers :: Designer Lamps :: Desk Lamps :: Floor Lamps :: Lava Lamps :: Lighting Fixtures :: Outdoor Lights :: Pendant Lights :: Picture Lights :: Table Lamps :: Tiffany Floor Lamps :: Tiffany Lamps :: Track Lighting :: Wall Lamps

© COPYRIGHT 1997-2010,
All rights reserved. All content on the web site is © copyright and may not be reproduced for any purpose without written consent from "Pandecta", "ElectronicLight", "ChairBay", "Search Engine Dictionary" and "Search Engine Yearbook" are trademarks of Use of this site indicates unconditional acceptance of the disclaimer.
God 1st