30 Ways To Lose A Client

April 1, 2014

Don't forget to say, "Thank you," to your clients. Don't forget to say, "Thank you," to your clients.

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.

3.  Overpromising

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.

5.  Under-estimating

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.

11.  Overprice

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.

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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