O.T. Firing a Client... (long post warning)

Dumpy

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For those who choose to read this post, thank you. Also, here is some background: I was a hairdresser full time from 1991-2016 before choosing to work in a corporate job. I cut half of my client load upon starting the corporate job, and half of that load after falling ill in 2018. Needless to say, this is my fun job, though some of the best part time money that could be made until the pandemic struck. I can survive without the income, but life is easier with it, despite being physically taxing labor.

When I struck out on my own from a long-time gig with a reputable salon in late ‘05, I told nearly every client, including the one discussed in the subject line. She chose to go a different direction, which was fine with me. When the guy she went with fired her, she would barge in on me while I was working, and I reluctantly took her on. She would talk about this other fellow in the most bitter way, like she was spurned. But she’s always had a history of worming her way into someone’s life and tries to take them over. I did my best to keep her at arms length, and she would make snide remarks that I don’t have Facebook or let her know what my email address is. Whatever...

She typically will miss several appointments in a year’s time, and will be late for others. While she always pays for the time missed, I have to figure out how to fit her in. With my state’s current Covid guidelines, we can’t have very many people in the salon where I work, as the square footage is less than 500 square feet. Working a person back into a schedule is a nightmare these days.

She’s gained well over 100 pounds in the last year, blaming my barber chair for her discomfort. She will linger in the shop while I am trying to get ready for the next client. Since the pandemic, I have to do extra cleaning not only for my personal protection (as I have underlying conditions), but for the safety and well-being of my patrons. Standing there talking to me after the appointment time is rude and imposing, but this is par for the course to indicate what type of person this is.

At the last appointment, she was spilling over the arm rests of my chair. I can’t afford to replace a chair as I am looking to ride into the sunset in the next three years. I also do not want my nearly claim-free record on my business insurance policy to be blemished by a nuisance lawsuit in my last years on this job from her being hurt as a result of breaking my chair.

The last straw was two events: she books a year’s worth of appointments. She texts me before the last appointment and informs me that she washed that piece of paper in her laundry. Fine. I text her time back. She comes in to get her hair cut on time. Before she left, I gave her a reminder card. Her appointment was this past Saturday. She missed her appointment, but then texts me to ask if she missed. I haven’t answered her text. I have elected to terminate our service agreement and will send her a letter notifying her.

This is never easy. I have intentionally trimmed my client roster over the years and even though it feels so much better once the deed has been done, guilt can come over you, making you second-guess your decision. In the end, this is the right thing to do. But it always feels a bit crummy until you realize your mental well-being is better, especially since this person was being seen on my off time. I imagine this is how every band leader feels after firing a band member or a boss feels after firing an employee.

I am not looking for advice, but comments are welcome, especially since I put this onto a discussion forum.
 

dtk

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I get that there are some customers you're better not dealing with...richer in the long run.

I think you should just rip the band aid off and let her know you need to severe the relationship...I'd just say that you need to cut back further and not go into why she didn't make the cut.

Thanks for sharing...
 

drawtheline55

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"The customer is always right' is NOT a saying I abide by. I too deal with people all the time and there have been a few (actually more than a few) that I refused to sell them, meaning please shop elsewhere.
If trouble appears to be a brewing...it usually does.
 

Nacci

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The main thing that I would consider when standing at this crossroads is the persons sphere and degree of influence as well as their propensity for revenge.

I have had two experiences in my life where I butted heads with someone and severed a relationship, one in the sphere of construction/contracting/permitting/land use/good ol’ boy network and one within the hierarchy of my Union and both cost me dearly, well in excess of the aggravation and inconvenience that precipitated the split.

In short, consider a quick, mental cost/benefit analysis of your actions prior to making the decision. Sometimes we don’t see our vulnerabilities and unguarded flanks until it is too late.
 

Dumpy

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The main thing that I would consider when standing at this crossroads is the persons sphere and degree of influence as well as their propensity for revenge.

I have had two experiences in my life where I butted heads with someone and severed a relationship, one in the sphere of construction/contracting/permitting/land use/good ol’ boy network and one within the hierarchy of my Union and both cost me dearly, well in excess of the aggravation and inconvenience that precipitated the split.

In short, consider a quick, mental cost/benefit analysis of your actions prior to making the decision. Sometimes we don’t see our vulnerabilities and unguarded flanks until it is too late.
You certainly bring up a great point. In the days where I took the good/bad/ugly because it was my daily bread, my skin would be thicker as it was “part of the gig”. I know enough people who know her and can’t stand her. She has worn out her welcome in many places. In some ways I feel sorry for her, but if you read my PSA from last month, psychic vampires are not something I need at this point.

Thanks for your perspective.
 

Dumpy

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I too am in a customer service industry. You cannot sacrifice that kind of time and energy for clients like that. Fire her, don't think twice, you need not give a reason, and move on.
Writing the letter as we speak...

Thank you.
 

Dumpy

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"The customer is always right' is NOT a saying I abide by. I too deal with people all the time and there have been a few (actually more than a few) that I refused to sell them, meaning please shop elsewhere.
If trouble appears to be a brewing...it usually does.
I used to deal with things like this more easily when this was my daily bread. Now that it is a side job, I definitely don’t need this ruining every third Saturday.
 

Dumpy

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The thank you card reads the following:

Dear (customer),

After long deliberation, I am exercising my option to terminate our service agreement effective immediately. I have elected to cut back further as I prepare for my future.

I wish nothing but the best for you in the future. Thank you for your past patronage.

Sincerely,

Dumpy (not my real name)
 

Squirrel Man

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I'm a firm believer in getting the poison out of lives and organizations.

We had a prominent employee here, complete well poisoner, lousy attitude, passive aggressive and that stuff leaks onto others if that makes sense. I told my CEO and CNO that these kind of people - you have to get them gone, now. Get them out of your organization, get them out of your life. My CNO had a jaw drop moment because she didn't initially subscribe to it until she heard one of those organizational motivational speakers say the exact same thing a week or so later then she jumped on board.

The employee is gone now and the culture in that area is detoxified.

That's what you have to do sometimes.
 

Squirrel Man

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The thank you card reads the following:

Dear (customer),

After long deliberation, I am exercising my option to terminate our service agreement effective immediately. I have elected to cut back further as I prepare for my future.

I wish nothing but the best for you in the future. Thank you for your past patronage.

Sincerely,

Dumpy (not my real name)
Can you add a little imagery?

:p

1614095164743.png
 

Dumpy

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I'm a firm believer in getting the poison out of lives and organizations.

We had a prominent employee here, complete well poisoner, lousy attitude, passive aggressive and that stuff leaks onto others if that makes sense. I told my CEO and CNO that these kind of people - you have to get them gone, now. Get them out of your organization, get them out of your life. My CNO had a jaw drop moment because she didn't initially subscribe to it until she heard one of those organizational motivational speakers say the exact same thing a week or so later then she jumped on board.

The employee is gone now and the culture in that area is detoxified.

That's what you have to do sometimes.
There were three people I fired when I went part time. It was the most liberating feeling EVER. This feels better since I sealed the envelope, put the stamp on and pinned to to my post box.
 

bconrad

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The thank you card reads the following:

Dear (customer),

After long deliberation, I am exercising my option to terminate our service agreement effective immediately. I have elected to cut back further as I prepare for my future.

I wish nothing but the best for you in the future. Thank you for your past patronage.

Sincerely,

Dumpy (not my real name)
“PS To ensure uninterrupted service to your hair, may I recommend this stylist, <insert name of competitor you don’t like>.”
 

Squirrel Man

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There were three people I fired when I went part time. It was the most liberating feeling EVER. This feels better since I sealed the envelope, put the stamp on and pinned to to my post box.
It's not so much about firing people though, it's about getting the bad apples out of your barrel and that could be employees, spouses/significant others, clients - whatever.

There are a lot of toxic types in our society, they need to be kept at an inch or two out of kicking distance in all aspects of our lives.
 


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