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The Habits of Bad Customers


Ron Baker obviously is an icon when it comes to pricing, value pricing. He’s been a global phenomenon for 20/30 years, co-authoring Firm of the Future with Paul Dunn.

When Ron and Paul wrote firm of the future back in the early 2000s, I don’t think they really believed that it would still be a seminal read in 2019.

But it is.

One of the things I love about Ron Baker is his Baker’s law, which basically said bad customers drive out good customers.

The analogy he used to deal with this is :-

What if your firm was an airplane with a fixed amount of seats? You have to adapt your capacity so that those customers who are prepared to pay more, pay for your value proposition and appreciate you.

But I saw a post recently on LinkedIn, and it linked back to an article on

The article was a checklist of how you can identify and distinguish the bad ones the from good ones, and this checklist really, really resonated with me.

The abbreviated version of how to spot the bad customers, this is something that every accountant should consider.

Here are some of the trends of bad customers:

  1. Number One. Bad customers don’t pay on time. They’re always late, or sometimes they just don’t pay it all.
  2. And the second characteristic of bad customers. They don’t pay enough and they just they don’t want to pay, they don’t place a value on what you do.
  3. Bad customers usually they have unclear or changing demands. It’s always shifting, the goalposts are always been moved.
  4.  Bad customers tend to want a lot of attention, and they want and demand a lot of attention.
  5. Bad customers point 5: It’s always on their terms, so when they want you, they want you now.  But when you want, them? Where are they? They’re gone.
  6. And number six – bad customers , sometimes they’re just not honest ,the stories don’t stack up.
  7. This usually is the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of accountants taking action, bad customers, they’re often abusive and threatening to staff, and usually the team, if they have their say, wouldn’t be letting them across the threshold.
  8. Linked to that they make unreasonable demands and they just they can’t be serviced.
  9. The bad thing is from a PR and branding perspective, from your own perspective. Is they’ll complained to anybody who’ll listen
  10. And the tenth one is, they just don’t listen to you, they don’t take on your advice.

So  back Through, the 10 characteristics of bad customers and ask yourself the question:

Do you have any customers who you can identify with the 10 indicators?

We all have bad customers, we need to identify them, and we need to make sure that those bad customers aren’t driving away good ones.

There are some people you’re meant to serve and some people not so much.

Identify who you’re meant to serve and who you’re not.