How to lose a client in 10 ways

Most businesses work super hard to get new clients, but once you have them in, it is even more important to hold onto then. The most important factor in making sure that your clients or potential clients don’t plan their great escape is your service levels. In fact 68% leave because they are unhappy with the service they receive. True story.

So get this.. At the end of the day, people want to work with people they like.

Forget price, forget the crazy budgets the competition’s has to spend on marketing. Get them to like you and your company.. actually no, not good enough. Get them to LOVE you and your company and you will have happy customers. Achieving this is not about wining and dining, its about providing great service and a positive customer experience.

But you already know this. If you want to read more on customer retention apart from the link above there is more here and also here.

I’m going to put a flip on it and let you know the 10 best ways you can lose a customer. I’m gonna also chuck a movie theme on top of it because.. well because I just feel like it!

So here are the top 10 ways to lose a client.. try these and watch your revenues plummet!

1. The Flaunt


You’re a businessman (or woman), not James Bond. Flaunting your riches will ring alarm bells to clients because they will do the sums. By all means, offer them a martini (shaken, not stirred) but forget the flaunting of expensive status symbols like cars, houses and holidays, because they will start to wonder where all of that money came from and come to the conclusion that it was from people like them. Try and stay cool and be confident in yourself without feeling the need to show off the expensive material items that you have.

2. The Oversell


From The Wolf of Wall Street.

“Mark Hanna: So if you got a client who bought stock at eight, and it now sits at sixteen, and he’s all fucking happy, he wants to cash it and liquidate and take his fucking money and run home. You don’t let him do that.

Jordan Belfort: Okay.

Mark Hanna: Cause that would make it real.

Jordan Belfort: Right.

Mark Hanna: No, what do you do? You get another brilliant idea, a special idea. Another situation, another stock to reinvest his earnings and then some. And he will, every single time.”

This is over selling and it is the perfect way to betray the trust of a client and hence lose them.

Clients want to believe that you have their best interests at heart, and that they can trust you. The best way that you can show that you simply don’t give a damn is through your actions. Pretend that you are fighting on their side, and when they put their faith in you and your business, do the switcharoo for a quick buck. Your relationship has now turned into more than just a business transaction, its a personal disaster for both parties. This method takes longer to implement since you need to build trust first but the end result is pure disaster.

If you have not seen The Wolf of Wall Street, I strongly recommend you do. It probably won’t teach you much about customer retention but its a good movie. I digress…

3. The Know-it-all


As an agency, clients come to us for advice and for our expertise, not to be preached at.

Although we might know as much about our particular field as Hermione Granger knows about Muggle Studies, it is important to stay focused on the client and what they need or want to know. Know-it-alls can not only be annoying, they can also be very off-putting, and these are not people who we would choose to spend our time with, let alone do business with – unless our business is studying muggles or casting spells.

How often do you want to spend time with know it alls? You probably wound’t even share a coffee with them. What’s the likelihood of shedding your hard earned cash to them?

4. The TMI


A little too much information. Your weekend, your nights, your wild bucks or your kid’s latest spell of bad behaviour. Could this possibly do you any more good than it could bad? Business is becoming more personal these days, but you need to have a limit on what you let your clients see of your personal life. If you rock up looking like The Hangover is that really going to help your business and make your clients want to stay with you?Â

Think about what information you are making available to your clients, whether it is in your personal appearance, photos in the office, or even on social media and try to gauge what is appropriate and what is not. Remember, though, people do like to see some personality and a degree of ‘human-ness’ these days. But don’t end up like these guys.

5. Greed


Over zealous margins, inflated budgets, or heavily skewed time tracking will always come back to bite you. And it’s ugly and unforgivable. The lessons taught to us by the great Willy Wonka should never be forgotten. If you forget about getting the squirrel who cracks the peanuts, or the meal gum, or drinking from the river of chocolate or being transported inside a TV (teleported) you may just end up with a bigger reward – an entire factory in Charlie’s case. One off small gains are exactly that. The bigger picture is much more interesting. Plus you sleep better at night. I like sleep.

6. Not admitting you’re wrong

Sometimes it seems like a sure thing. Sometimes deep down inside you know this may not be the right decision but you go for it anyway. Sometimes you just plain screw up. Anyone who hired Nicole Kidman as their lead role would have gone through one or all of these things.

People understand that mistakes happen, but clients will forgive, only if you are open about it. If you continue to cover over mistakes and blame 3rd parties it won’t go down well you will make the situation worse and you will almost certainly end up losing the client.

7. Overcharging


Charging clients ridiculous amounts for minimal work is a dead certain way of losing them. Once they find out how much others charge for the same work, or how much time and money you have put in compared to how much you have charged, they will make up their mind straight away about whether it is worth it, and whether they use you. They will almost certainly not come back if they don’t feel like they got value for money.

As we have learnt from the movies, the bad guy never wins, so forget about being Mr Scrooge and start thinking Caroline Clairmont in Chocolat, and you will see your clients stay with your and your business flourish.

8. Not Executing


Over promise and under deliver. Its rife in the Adwords and Digital marketing industry. Just look at the SEO ads out there.. “we will guarantee you No 1 spot”.. really? Guarantee? If you promise the Starship Enterprise, you need to deliver the Starship Enterprise, and not Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. If you don’t really and truly believe that you can deliver the Starship Enterprise, don’t promise it, go the other way. Always overdeliver, exceed expectations and that way you clients will always be pleasantly surprised. It’s always better to expect Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and get the Starship Enterprise.

9. Not being likeable


Clients need to like you. According to Bain and Company, a customer is four times more likely to leave you due to poor customer service and not feeling appreciated than due to the price. Mutual respect and individuals liking to work with other individuals are key in the business world, as it is all about relationships. People want to work with people they like. The bond is much stronger and longer lasting than working with people purely based on performance.

Although not a businessman, everybody wants to be around Buzz Lightyear because he is likeable, friendly, charming and funny. These attributes all lend themselves to the beginning of a beautiful friendship and from this, a long lasting business relationship can be formed. It is much more difficult to say no to someone that you really, truly like.

10. Resting on your laurels


In the world of business today, strategies and technologies are developing at a rate of knots. There is no excuse for not advancing, and training continually to keep up with the game as this will allow your competitors to move ahead.Things might be good now, but without continual development you will begin to fall behind.

Whilst being successful in his own right, the times of Robin Hood have passed on now, and bows and arrows, and feathered caps although romantic and nostalgic are no longer the way forward. So move with the rest or get left behind and see your clients flowing out of the door..

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