Your worst customers are your best teachers
No-one wants a bad customer but the reality is there are tons of them out there and that's a fact.
Same thing for bad bosses, bad teammates, bad friends and in general bad relationships of any kind.
The thing is how we can benefit from such toxic relationships, what can we learn from them and how can we use them to achieve our own goals.
# Define bad customers
Bad customers are the ones who don't actually respect the collaboration itself.
They consider you employees who should be thankful working for them. It is always "for" and never "with" them. Actually, they never considered you a 50-50% teammate in the first place.
They believe it is ok to change specifications while the project runs or even violate deadlines just to add a bunch of last-minute additions you should have predicted coming in the first place because it is your job to make the predictions and not theirs.
What about making budget adjustments when the volume of work and deliverables change? To put it politely, are you out of your f#cking mind? Everything can change except for the budget.
Everything is your fault and the fact that you are not getting paid on time, or that you have to deliver more work than the one you are actually getting paid for, is also on you.
This is how things work. You always have to work more than you are getting paid because this is simply how they do business, and they are more than happy to throw it at your face when the opportunity comes.
They are adorable, right? 🤢
# Customer is king
That is a great statement with lots of truth hidden inside, but on the other hand we are in 2022 and not in the Middle Ages so let's not use it as an excuse to cover up a lousy customer.
Every professional agreement is the beginning of a 50-50% collaboration. Customers hire you, so they have a team of winners by their side that can bring them the championship.
They want to take advantage of your supreme skillset and expertise and are willing to pay these at a fair price.
Obviously you need them as they need you. It is mutual. This is the only way to build an effective professional relationship that will benefit both sides and will last for long.
The collaboration itself between a customer and a contractor is the king nowadays
# Let bad customers teach you
It is extremely difficult to avoid facing a bad customer so when the opportunity comes use it to polish your business and take it to the next level. Yes, a bad customer can help you boost your business no matter how crazy this may sound.
Bad customers teach you what customers you should pursue and with whom you should avoid collaborating.
They teach you how to look for red flags early enough and evaluate a business opportunity even more thoroughly and accurately. You are taught how to make the right questions in the first place and how to put new projects in the right framework upfront.
Bad customers teach you how to sign better agreements and how to be more mindful and proactive with terms and conditions.
They teach you how to evaluate better your work and how to budget deliverables way better, so you ensure there will be a profit after all.
Bad customers expose your weaknesses since they tend to spot holes in your procedures, so they can take advantage of them down the road. This can be extremely beneficial as long as you take some actions immediately to polish your processes.
Since they don't actually care about paying you on time, they teach you how to establish some rules, so you don't let a single payment slip or delay in the future.
No-one wants bad customers but all of us have worked at least once with one of them.
Embrace such opportunity and try to look for mistakes from your side, so you never have to deal with such a customer anymore.
Your business deserves better, so it is about time to level up your game, improve procedures, set the right rules early enough and look for collaborations that inspire you instead of putting you in a miserable position.