Surefire way to lose your clientsBy Nina Kaufman, Esq.
Did you ever lose a client when you thought you’d done nothing wrong?
Sure, you can understand it if you completely muck up an assignment.
But sometimes, it’s the breach of “micro-commitments” that turns a client off.
This happened to Chris, who runs a web development firm. Overall, they’re terrific. Solid problem-solvers. Efficient. Current with latest developments. They don’t come cheap, but they’re reliable. Mostly.
Then, a couple of clients left to use another firm. They weren’t huge clients, but Chris prides himself on customer service … so this felt like a slap in the face.
Together, we dissected the pattern of client relationships. At first, everything was great. The clients needed changes to their websites and Chris promised it could be done within a week. But his team forgot to create support tickets. Then they moved offices. Then they got derailed by a huge project. Etc. etc.
Each of which is understandable … and we’re all human.
But guess what still wasn’t done?
If Chris had said can’t get to it for a month, the client’s expectations would have been managed better. Even sorry, that’s not part of our contract/skill set/size of project we want to take on— would have been fair. And clear.
Each week, though, Chris made promises he didn’t keep.
Those broken promises erode trust. And add up.
Do you treat clients the same way?
Make little promises you don’t keep? Take on “small fish” clients you push aside when a big fish comes along? Say “yes” to projects for the money, but aren’t the kinds of assignments you want?
Here’s a tip, as you take on year-end planning:
Look at your top 10 clients, and run a few numbers.
- How much did they pay you (gross)?
- What’s the dollar value of the time you and your team spent serving them?
- Is the spread enough to help the rest of your business run smoothly?
- Where could you be more efficient tracking your projects?
I’m working with clients whose year-end strategic plans include finding and keeping better clients.
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