Do you provide a high-quality, fairly-valued service yet find yourself struggling to retain clients? The problem could be in your approach to customer service. Many resources have adequately covered ways to earn repeat business, but they don’t always cover ways to lose that same business. Knowing both how to keep customers as well as what practices drive them away are equally important and can help you grow a sustainable company that your customers love to do business. You can’t avoid the biggest client management mistakes if you don’t know what they are, so here are 30 ways to lose a client. I hope it helps you keep clients instead.
1. Take them for granted
Once you’ve established a long-term relationship with a client who provides regular work, it can be easy to start taking them for granted. Instead, you should reward their loyalty with attentiveness and quality.
2. Put them off
When a client asks a question or is expecting a task to be completed, being slow to respond can doom the account.
When you oversell yourself, it can be easy to disappoint. Under-promise, over-deliver to lend the impression of value.
4. Be egotistical
Think you know everything? Think your client is wrong, and need to let them know? Keep it up, and you’ll have no one to “out-do.” Give your clients good advice, sure, but do so with tact.
Do you give low quotes to land jobs, then tack on “extra” or “hidden” fees later? Clients won’t tolerate that practice very long.
6. Refusing to meet
The digital age has made in-person meetings unnecessary, but they can still be vital for strengthening client relationships.
7. Send late bills
Believe it or not, most clients want to pay up as soon as possible. At the very least, they want to know what they owe so they can budget accordingly. Waiting weeks or even months to invoice can set clients up for unwanted surprises.
8. Worry only about price
If you make your price your key selling point, you won’t be in business too long because someone will always do it cheaper. Instead, sell on quality, relationships, experience, etc., to help clients understand what is truly important.
9. Don’t offer project updates
Good communication keeps clients in the loop and happy; failure to communicate progress does not.
10. Ignore client wishes
If your clients are specific about wanting a certain thing done a certain way, and you ignore it, you’ll probably lose them.
You should charge a fair fee, but price-gouging will get you nowhere.
12. Go full sales mode
If you’re too aggressive in your sales pitch, pushing customers to buy now, you’ll seem too pushy or even desperate to do business with.
13. Forget to say ‘thank you’
Gratitude goes a long way toward building long-term customer relationships.
14. Refuse to revise
Or even charging too much for revisions can cause clients to jump ship.
15. Give a sloppy presentation
From your attire to your office to your proposal, if you look sloppy clients will assume your work is likewise sloppy – even if it isn’t.
16. Sub-standard work
Rush through too many projects, fail to meet expectations, and you’ll also fail to keep clients. Always deliver premium-quality work, even if you’re not getting premium wages.
17. Failing to resolve issues in the interest of your clients
When issues arise, always look at the problem from the client’s point of view then solve it accordingly.
18. Make clients jump through hoops
How many different people at your company should clients have to go through to get an answer to their questions? Just one, and it should always be the same person.
19. Refuse to give referrals
If you’re a B2B company, giving referrals to your clients is a powerful way to build relationships that flourish.
20. Only care when they’re paying
If you only care about your customers when they’re buying something from you, you’re missing opportunities. Send greeting cards or pick up the phone to offer birthday wishes and congratulations for career and family milestones.
21. Failure to market
Stay front-and-center by continually telling your customers what deals you have, what other products and services you offer, and with valuable content delivered via your blog, email or print newsletter.
22. Failure to reward loyalty
You probably offer incentives to attract new customers, but what do you do to encourage repeat business? Reward your loyal customers, who likely comprise 80 percent of your business.
23. Ignore the competition
Think your competitors are just letting you have your clients? Not without putting up a fight. Keep tabs on what your competitors are up to so you can remain the most attractive option for your clients.
24. Not learning and evolving
As time goes on, your business will change. Technology, your industry even best practices will evolve. So will client needs. If you don’t educate yourself and evolve along with them, you’ll lose them.
25. Be rude
Always mind your manners, even when you don’t feel like it. Yes, clients will leave you as a matter of pride.
26. Miss deadlines
Turning in work late is never, ever to your advantage. If you have trouble keeping deadlines, be upfront with clients and tell them when they can realistically expect the work.
27. Be stupid on social media
Think your clients aren’t checking out your Facebook and Twitter pages? Think again. That bender you just went on with your old college friends should be a shared memory, not a shared photo.
28. Say ‘no’ to opportunities
Many successful business people will tell you that one critical key to success is taking advantage of opportunities. When you tell clients you can’t do something, you’ve just opened the door for them to seek someone who can.
29. Focus on you
No one cares about your awards or, quite frankly, how your weekend was. All your client communications should focus on meeting client needs, unless they ask a question about you.
30. Hire the wrong people
No matter how great you are at client relationships, if your employees aren’t good at it you’ll lose clients. Train your employees to understand how you want clients to be treated.