A while back we had a discussion with one of our members at The Janitorial Store about a customer who was becoming somewhat of a problem. In order to make the account worthwhile, our member really needed to raise their price, but had concerns about losing the account if they did that.
So a meeting was set up with the owners of the business, and everything was discussed. They addressed their concerns over the lack of support from the teachers (this is a daycare and the teachers are not doing their part), and also went over the original specifications list compared to the tasks they're actually performing in order to keep things cleaned the way they should be. By addressing these issues, it became clear to the customer that the cleaning company was doing way more than the original specifications list called for and they did deserve the price increase.
Rather than taking an immediate increase (a full 30% increase was necessary), our member decided to negotiate with the customer so that they could keep the account make it a win-win situation for all. So here's what was agreed upon. They decided to break up the increase into 4 quarterly increases, so that over a year's time, they'll get the full increase. In the meantime, the customer scheduled a large strip/wax job, which helped to bring in another $2600.00 of very profitable income.
This turned out to be a good situation for all. The customer is continuing to get the same great service they're accustomed to, while taking incremental price increases, and the cleaning company was able to keep their customer, negotiate a price increase, and most importantly, they were able to openly discuss the concerns they had and take steps to get them resolved.
Have you had a sit-down meeting with your customers lately? Is there anything you can do to improve or salvage your relationship? Sometimes it means openly discussing concerns on both sides and coming to a compromise that makes it a win-win for both.