Without clients, you have no business. It makes sense to pay some attention to how you relate to them. How you work with clients will determine whether they use your services or buy your products. More importantly, how you relate to clients will determine whether they become recurring customers or individuals who refer others to your business. This article will highlight ten mistakes that often lead to lost clients and how to avoid them.
1. Not Setting Ground Rules
Agreed upon ground rules are critical to customer relationships and overall interaction. When you have one party playing by a different set of rules, there will almost always be conflict and strife. Without rules, we have nothing to objectively appraise each other by.
In order to avoid the potential conflict that comes from a rule free arrangement, establish clear principles and rules of engagement from the onset of the relationship. When this is done, both parties will know the boundaries to operate within and this will secure the overall respect within the business relationship.
2. Making Your Clients Feel Cheated
Ever interacted with a store owner or some other salesperson and felt cheated? It is a terrible feeling to have. Hidden fees, unexpressed conditions and shady negotiation practices are all ways in which a client can be left feeling cheated. Sometimes people still proceed to buy despite this feeling but be sure that they may never buy again.
When you are dealing with a customer, explain all the costs involved from the onset. Ensure that you are transparent about all conditions and be sure to avoid being unfair and unreasonable in the negotiation process. This will help your customers feel comfortable when they are purchasing from you and avoid the pain of lost clients.
3. Making it Difficult to do Business With You
Some business owners are difficult to do business with. Things that make it difficult are lack of communication, unacceptable values, lack of availability, and sloppy work ethics are some of the first things that come to mind. When this happens, lost clients are almost a guarantee.
Make your customers feel like doing business with you is a pleasure. Be courteous, communicate clearly, be a business owner of value by working on yourself and be sure to develop a great work ethic. When clients experience these things when dealing with you, they will work with you again and again.
4. Stop Marketing to Your Clients
You will always have competition and one of the easiest ways to lose your customers is to not continuously market to them. The process of buying involves many emotions which are not always based on logical reasoning. This is why it is necessary to continue to market to your customers.
There are some simple ways that you can continue to promote your services or products to your customers. You can maintain a database with the birthdays of your customers and wish them a happy birthday when it comes and grants them a discount. You could also keep their contact information and send them product updates, tailored products, and other materials to stimulate demand in your product.
5. Focus on New Clients Rather Than Long-Term Relationships
It is easier to keep a satisfied customer than to secure a new customer. Most people don’t understand this, so they expend most of their resources seeking new customers rather than strengthening their approach to build customer loyalty. A loyal customer can bring you much more business than a single new customer.
Develop relationships with your customers. Do this by learning who they are, their birthdays and other useful information to the process. Always be kind to your customers. You can also set up a loyalty rewarding system that gives customers benefits based on how often they buy or how long they use your services
6. Failing to Keep Agreements
One of the quickest ways to break trust resulting in lost clients is by not living up to agreements. It leaves a very bad taste when an arrangement has been negotiated and mutually accepted and the business owner decides to not follow through.
To avoid this, ensure that you know your limitations and your capacity. Only make agreements that you are sure that you can deliver on. Always bear in mind that it is better to under-promise and over-serve.
7. Looking/Presenting in an Unprofessional Manner
They say, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but this doesn’t stand when it comes to making a positive impression on your clients. Your dress, mannerism and overall deportment are being watched by your customer. If it is not up to par, they will not feel comfortable patronizing you.
How you present yourself is a part of your product or service. In an effort to make lasting impressions and satisfy your customers, be sure to present yourself in a manner that complements the service or product that you offer. This can be everything from your website to your customer service.
8. Being unresponsive
Everyone has had the distasteful experience of trying to buy something or trying to get information about a service and not be able to get the information. When this happens for too long, most people will go to one of your competitors. The only exception to this is if you are the only supplier. Still, this does not give you the right to be unresponsive.
Make responding to inquiries and customer complaints a priority. Set up systems where people can always access information. A FAQ section of your company’s website can really help in cases where you do not have 24/7 live customer support. Respond promptly to all emails and get your clients the information that they desire.
9. Doing shoddy work or selling shoddy products
This does not need to be overly emphasized. No one wants to spend their hard-earned money on a service or product that is done or made in an inferior manner. A poor business practice is to give people less than what they deserve.
Constantly improve your service or product. Make quality one of your core values. Doing this will lead to pleased customers and will minimize the number of dissatisfied customers.
10. Stepping up only at renewal time
Politicians tend to make major commitments when they get close to election season. When you only appear when a renewal is near due, you make the same impression on your customers.
Avoid this by maintaining constant contact with your customers. Developing and maintaining a database of your customers with contact information is critical here. Use all the special occasions and holidays of the year as opportunities to make a positive contact. Having members of your team who periodically check up on client satisfaction is a plus.
A periodic email newsletter to your customers can help you to stay top of mind in their world.
Avoid these 10 mistakes sure result in lost clients by doing what has been recommended in this article. When you do this, you will have an army of loyal customers, and ultimately this will give your business longevity. Make a commitment to excellence and operate the best business possible.