I once had a client who would call or email and demand that I drop everything immediately to get their new and urgent job done. The problem was that every job of theirs was urgent.

And so, every time I received another urgent call, I would drop everything, my entire business would come to a standstill, and other clients would get sidelined, just to meet the unrealistic and often rude demands from this one client.

The final straw came when she called me on a Monday morning demanding that I get a project done by Friday. That gave me five days to finish a project that would normally have taken three weeks. I worked around the clock, and completed the project by 4 p.m. that Friday.

After some brief celebration with the team, I called to let her know the report was on its way, only to be told by her assistant that she had left for a two-week vacation a few days back.

Then and there, I vowed to get ride of these “urgent, urgent, urgent” customers once and for all.

I introduced a new pricing schedule. I would gladly deliver urgent jobs, but I’d charge a 100 percent premium on top of the normal rate. Semi-urgent jobs would cost 50 percent more.

The results were interesting. Did I lose any customers? Not a single one. But what did change was the way my clients defined the word “urgent.”

What was even nicer was that I noticed that my more demanding customers actually became much more organized. They seemed to respect my time, and me, much more. Suddenly I wasn’t being taken for granted.

Bottom line: Don’t let your business be held to ransom by a few unrealistic customers. It is easy to get rid of them, but surely a better outcome is to retrain them.