How to handle clients that cancel but still expect support


  • Only take a client back if you think its the right thing to do
  • Don’t ever feel obligated to have to help clients that cancel then expect free help
  • Just because you provided SEO doesn’t mean you’re now IT support
  • Dont let clients run your business
  • Get some balls and learn to say no


John:                     There was an interesting discussion just recently in one of the Facebook, I think it was in one of the Facebook groups, Facebook advertising, and someone got up and said, “Oh, a client of eight years ditched us, said they didn’t need us anymore and they were going to do it. And then a few weeks later, the emails started coming in. “Oh, we’ve changed something and our inquiries have fallen off a cliff and the whole thing’s gone pear shaped. Help.” And the amount of comments that were coming in from people saying, “Get in there and help this person and you’ve got to accommodate.” And I just thought, ………you can probably imagine my response. I said, “Right. They’ve cancelled the service. They said they don’t want to work with you anymore. They’re not paying you for fucking support.” I said, “Fuck them.”

Byron:                   Yeah. I think if you’re accepting of them coming back, then you go, all right, yeah. But you just come back straight onto where you left. If you’re on a 4K retainer where you’re now on a 4K and then we go again, you know, then we’ll sort this out for you, but yeah. It’s not like just free support just because you built the site or you did something somewhere along the line, you’ve got to support it for eternity.

John:                     Yeah, that’s a real pain point for a lot of people in the online marketing space, web designers, not just SEO guys, people doing PPC. And I know you’ve had this too Byron, you get a client that comes back or a ex-client that finished up four years ago and comes back and says, “Oh, how do I update this page?” Like what the fuck?

Byron:                   It is an interesting one though, because I was talking to one of my clients and he’s in sales, actually. He sells like dental equipment and so forth, very like high-end sales guy. We were talking about this one day about like when a client leaves and then he goes, “Oh, what happens like if clients got good results and then they leave Byron?” I said, “Oh, well, things could sustain for a while. Like if you’ve done some SEO and you’ve built some links, you’ve done some content. Well, they could actually go up for a period of time so they could leave you and be like, Oh, I don’t need Byron or John because things are still going up.” But I think you and I have both seen that, it only takes one agency to take it and then all of a sudden the trend starts to go.

First, it’s a little small dip and then it’s a snowball effect and it just gets out of control, you know? But I think sometimes like if the relationship’s still sustained in some way and they do come back down the track and they say, “Look, Byron, you know, I stuffed up here, I let you go. And things have gone to shit now since I moved on from you. Would you be willing to work with me again?”

Then his view was like, if they come back to you then like you’re in full control at that stage. That’s kind of just like, you know, you’ve got them exactly where you want them in terms of being able to, they know the value of you, they’ve left you once before, but you do have the opportunity there to reengage, if it’s something that you want. You know, I’m a big fan of loyalty and so forth as well, but when somebody really experiences the height of things and then they see how bad it gets when I don’t have you on board, it gives you a lot of power moving forward to maybe have a lifetime customer there because they’re like, “I’m not making that mistake again.”

John:                     Yeah. I think your use of the word loyalty there is an interesting one, because I think a lot of people that are providing online marketing services, again, not just SEO, misinterpret loyalty for being a fucking door mat and letting their clients walk all over them. Just touching on clients, set aside, they no longer require your service.

John:                     Clients that no longer require your services and make the decision to leave. Depending upon how that relationship ends, I think is important and that probably dictates the way forward from there.

Byron:                   That’s it, yeah

John:                     If they are nasty about it, go behind your back, hire someone else, change all the logins, you know, I’ve had those experiences. I know you have. I know Rhys has experienced it now. You need to ask yourself, like, ……do I really want this client back? I mean, if it’s something else, okay, well the things that are tight at the moment, we need to stop, or I mean, I’ve got clients at the moment that are paused because of the outbreak.

No problem with having them back. But I think, you know, look, my message to a lot of freelancers in particular is get some fucking balls, because too many of them are just “Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes, sir. Three bags full, sir.” And then, “Oh, you want me to charge 300 a month? My actual rate is 2 000. Okay, I’ll do it.” There’s too much of that going on. There’s too much of that going on. And you know, slowly but surely it just becomes this fucking race to the bottom. This is what I find really annoying in many Facebook groups because the messaging in there is constantly, you have to accommodate, you have to do what the client wants.

I just don’t agree with that. I think the client should meet you halfway and there needs to be a level of respect there. You know, this is a joint effort. And if the client is like, “Well, you know, we don’t really need you and we expect this of you, but we’ll pay that invoice when we’re ready. And sorry I didn’t respond to your five missed calls.” I just got no time for that anymore.

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