Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Have you thought about saying goodbye to that troublesome client?

In today's troubled economy it borders on blasphemy to even suggest letting a client go. It's hard enough bringing clients in the door let alone asking some of them to leave, right?

Most of us are very fortunate to work with great communities who appreciate what we do for them, follow the advice they pay us to give, pay their bills and treat our employees with courtesy and respect.

However, there is always a flip side. How many professionals that service community associations such as lawyers, accountants, managers, insurance agents, engineers and more have that handful of clients who make life a little harder for everybody involved?

Who are these troubled clients? Well, here a few red flags:

• Boards with internal strife who send conflicting messages and/or expect their professional advisors to take sides;

• Boards constantly under recall assault;

• Boards that are being run by one person alone despite having a full board in place;

• Boards that pay for opinions only to discard same and embark on dangerous courses of action;

• Boards that admit that they know they are doing wrong but just don't care;

• Boards who couldn't care less about changes in the law or educational offerings;

• Boards whose members communicate with your staff in a disparaging or demeaning manner;

• Boards who have sued many professional advisors in the past; and,

• Boards who have failed to pay many professional advisors in the past.

How many times do you read about a community doing everything wrong where an attorney or other professional advisor is listed as servicing that community and you wonder if the professional has endorsed or assisted in the bad behavior?

Just as communities can often tell when a professional advisor is not a good fit and they move on, professional advisors would be wise to do the same. If you are currently servicing a client who exhibits some of the red flags above, hopefully you have tried every tool in your arsenal to educate them and hopefully head off some potential problems. However, for those incorrigible clients that won't be persuaded by reason or education, ask yourself at what point will that troublesome client become a potential liability that is too much to bear.

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