Have you ever had to reject a customer?

This is an answer to a question submitted to the “Ask me anything (AMA)” program. This AMA channel is designed to support you get clarity to business/tech questions you may have. Periodically, I select a particular response that we feel can benefit the broader community.

Yes. Considering delivery in a professional services space, the main ones I met are:

  • Work is non-core
  • Work is non-core, and any resources that could perform the work are not available within the timeframes required.
  • Work is non-core, and the job scope and size do not sustain hiring/sub-contracting to win that work.
  • Mismatched requirements (or culture) needed to serve effectively.
  • Eventual stopping of that line of work. In these cases, we inform early and help make it as easy as possible to find a partner who can take this on with the customer.
  • The impact of taking on that work on existing workstreams.
  • Time by when the solution needs to be shipped cannot be met.
  • Customer discounting expectations could not be met.
  • High-risk credit-rated customers that could not meet de-risking requirements.
  • Unrealistic expectations of what could be achieved with the budget available.
  • Unaligned ways of working — Work nature needed an agile approach and customer expected waterfall approach assurances (e.g. very common in RFP requests).
  • Lack of customer executive/board support to commit to work.
  • Internal maturity/stability at the customer causing continuous changes in requirements that could not be settled on as “stakes in the ground” against which we can price and offer a course of action.
  • What the customer needed could not be delivered on time, spec, and expected quality because what was required was unclear even after several meetings.

NOTE: Views are my own, based on my observations and experiences. I believe in productive discourse and welcome opportunities to refine my understanding through discussion. Comment in the comments area below or reach out on hi@andremuscat.com

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