If I have had a penny for every time I have been given advice on how to handle ‘friends’ as clients, well, then I’d hardly have a pound, frankly. I have learned the following the hard way i.e. by making embarrassing mistakes.
Always give some sort of a tangible benefit to your friends over ‘normal’ clients. What, you expected me to give you the boring, “it’s business, don’t mix your private life with your business life.” line and say that it is OK to charge your friends the same price? It is not only the decent thing to do, but also can be beneficial for your customer relationship strategy (a fancy way of saying that you will know how to make your customers happier).
Warning, folks: do not overburden yourself by providing them the service or product at a loss, but do remember to give a clear and tangible benefit to your friends. This will usually translate as a discount in the cost. That ‘should not’ be a problem.
If you are a small business, then ‘showing the love’ for your customer is all the more important for you. I have found that ‘caring for your customer’ comes easier when the customer is someone you already know how to care about. This in turn can give you valuable insights on the customer relationship ‘model’ in your specific industry/sector.Again, this ‘model’ is fancy-talk for knowing what problems can possibly arise and what is the typical complaint a customer may have with your product/service.
If you are really smart, you’ll know already that the relationship between you and your client is far more important than the product or service that you will be providing for your client. Use your ‘friends’ not to earn profits from, but to learn different methods of providing top-notch customer service.
But sorry if you were looking for ways to justify your ‘policy’ to not give discounts to any friends or family member. Remember, you are doing whatever you are doing to improve your quality of life, and trying to make your friends and family members happy has a high tendency of improving your life’s quality.