No one goes out of their way to lose a client. However, it is surprisingly easier than you might think. What’s worse, you may be undermining yourself without even knowing it.
If you want to keep your clients (and unless you have a really troublesome client, we know that you do), it is important that you avoid certain behaviors that you may not even realize are driving customers away. Here are the five biggest customer faux pas:
1. Talk about yourself (all the time). Sure you want your customers to know what a great business you have but it is much more important that you concentrate on their business and what they want and need from you.
2. Communicate exclusively by email (unless that is what they want). It is important that you communicate with clients in the manner that they prefer. However, if you don’t ask and only use email, most customers will pick up on the fact that you are avoiding taking the time to have a real conversation with them. Picking up the phone and meeting them face-to-face shows that you value them enough to take time out of your busy day to talk with them.
3. Only get in touch with them when you want their money. Nothing will alienate clients faster than only approaching them when it’s time for them to pay a bill or when you want to sell them a new product or service. Avoid this pitfall by periodically checking in to see how business is going or pass along something you read that might be of interest to him or her.
4. Always be billing. If you bill clients every time they call you, you can bet they won’t reach out to you very often. And soon they won’t reach out to you at all! While you should be paid for your time, don’t go overboard. Instead, see these communications as ways to build a personal and professional relationship—something that is sure to pay off in the long run.
5. Ignore problems. Ignoring problems that have already occurred or that may occur, is an excellent way to lose a client. Clients are surprisingly understanding if something goes wrong provided you take responsibility for it or alert them to it beforehand. While it is a difficult conversation to have, it always pays off. It also helps to build trust.
We all get busy. However, if you don’t treat clients the way they deserve, they probably won’t be your clients for very long.