What to do when a client leaves your backyard
Losing clients is a natural but inconvenient part of business. It can happen for many reasons and it is best not to analyse the situation too much, otherwise you may just go mad! However, I always find myself wondering what I’m lacking or haven’t done. Did the relationship not live up to expectations? Was there a lack of communication? All these sorts of questions come to mind and it’s hard not to take it personally.
As part of the leaving process it is important to reflect and learn. Could your organisation actually deliver what the client wanted? And is your branding and image in the market meeting clients’ expectations?
Quintessential Concierge is a relatively small business, we don’t speak at huge institutional gatherings, don’t do a lot of marketing, and don’t have a huge wining-and-dining budget. Our growth comes entirely from word-of-mouth and referrals. It’s always good to consider your branding and image in the market and whether this is meeting client’s expectations. But also consider that if you have a solid presence in your market segment, changing the way you do business could alienate your other clients.
If it’s only one client on occasion that has left, and you like your market niche and feel you’re meeting the goals of the vast majority of your clients – well, tell yourself you were lucky to have had the business “temporarily.” Losing a big client is never fun, and much less than ideal for your bottom line, but it’s as much a part of business as landing a dream client. And it’s sometimes the fallout of staying true to your style and strengths.
What to do next:
- Remain professional at all times
- Keep calm and stay focused
- Look for the positives
- Before finalising work ask your client the reason for leaving
- Ask yourself whether you understood their expectations, and if not, whether this was preventable
- Evaluate whether your organisation could or should even try to meet their expectations
- And ask yourself if this is part of a larger pattern, or just an isolated incident
Remember to also:
- Keep in contact with your client (if the relationship is amicable) – you never know whether their circumstances will change in the future
- Don’t take it personally
- Reflect, learn and move on
Sometimes having a client leave is a blessing in disguise – freeing up your time to take on someone new and you never know what and who’s just around the corner. I recently had a client return after leaving due to a change in circumstances and it was lovely receiving these comments from her the other day: “Many thanks and good work again – we make a very good team”.
What doesn’t break you just makes you stronger!
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