3 Ways To Lose A Client Passion Squared blog

3 Ways To Lose An Awesome Client

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. ~ Jeff Bezos, Amazon 

We often hear talk about how to keep a client, but today, I am reminding you of how to lose one.

Why? Because sadly, I am seeing more and more the most simple things being overlooked when engaging with a business that I felt inspired to share this reminder with you.

First off, why do we lose clients? Several ways. It all comes down to broken promises, over time, which leads to diminishing trust, which ultimately makes a client decide to choose to go elsewhere.

Recently, I visited a service establishment that pretty much violated most of the reasons clients don’t stay. As I walked in, I was greeted, so yay! But from there, it all went downhill. For some context, there were 6 team members and 2 clients in the business when I arrived. They asked me sit down and wait for my service but never told me where to sit. Once I figured out for myself where to sit, I began to cough. And cough some more. Then some more. For over one minute, I coughed. Yet, it was not until over a minute of coughing that someone decided it was a good time to offer me a beverage.

When I sat for my experience, I was never offered another beverage, even though there were still only 2 clients in the business with idle team members watching TV and staring down at their phones. Really?

I requested a specific service be done, yet, I had to ask 3 times at which point the service provider finally heard me and did what I requested.

Upon checkout, which took WAY too long for no good reason, I was asked 3 times if I wanted a receipt. THREE times. I was never asked if I wanted to leave a tip, how my experience was, not was I asked when I wanted to pre book my next appointment. The fundamentals, forgotten or ignored.

1. Not Listening

This is the foundation of everything. Listening says so much. If we really listen, we can ensure our clients needs are being taken care of. When we listen we show we care. When we listen we deliver awesome experiences. When we deliver awesome experiences, clients are inspired to share them with their friends.

2. Not Providing An Awesome Experience

The client experience begins LONG before we walk through the door. It begins upon first contact. This could be our experience with your online platforms, how we book our appointments, how appointments are confirmed, how we are treated upon entering the business, during our service, checking out of our service, and any post service follow up. This can speak to the products you use, to the towel quality, the beverage service, the music being played, the energy in the space, and so on; experience matters.

3. Not Caring

How do we show we care? We pay attention, we listen, we respond, we engage, online and off, I can tell if you care, and I can tell if you do not. Do you care if I ever come back? If you do, one way to show me is to remind me to book my next experience before I leave. If you care about my experience as a client, you will do everything in your power to ensure my needs are being met, including offering me a beverage the first time you hear me cough. If you care, you will ask me to share my experience on Yelp. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Why does this happen?

Many reasons. Sometimes it may be lack of training, lack of systems, lack of expectations, lack of engagement in the business, a disgruntled team, lack of culture, or lack of leadership.

In this case, the owner was not present. But if leaders do their job, the owner should not have to be present for an awesome experience to be delivered consistently.

What can you do about it?

Take a good, objective look at your experience. The systems, the training, the team, the culture, your brand promise, and your ability to lead. Most likely, something is missing or broken. The good news? You can change it, if you really want to.

Start with brand purpose and promise. Are you clear and is your team clear? What do you stand for? Believe in? Who is your target client? Do you understand them and what they value? What specifically does your experience look and feel like? Is the team crystal clear on how to deliver that experience consistently and what it looks and feels like? What systems can you build to ensure the experience is delivered? How will the team be held accountable if the experience is not delivered consistently.

One last thing…

As I mentioned in the beginning, there were 2 clients in the salon and 6 service providers. What were the other 4 service providers doing? Nothing. In 2017, there is NO reason in the world to do nothing. If you want to build a clientele, the KEY word is “want”, then it’s your responsibility to build those relationships. One way to do that today is by engaging on social platforms. Create content that is of value to your client. Engage. Build relationships. Create content. Engage. Build relationships. For the one hour I was there, those 4 service providers could have done a mini photo shoot, created a video, done an Instagram or Facebook LIVE, written a blog, practiced their craft, etc.

If you don’t have the clients you dream of, the only place to look is in the mirror. Then at your phone, not to play games, but to create and share content, engage, deliver value and build relationships.

With love-

PS: Just after I finished writing this post, I saw this in my inbox from the awesome Seth Godin. Let it sink in and share it with your teams…

The best time to study for the test… is before it’s given.
The best time to campaign is before the election.
And the best time to keep a customer is before he leaves.- Seth Godin

The Customer Is Always Wrong

“Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.”

Philip Kotler

Brand vs. Commodity

Here is the audio version of this post, background snoring compliments of Zen Louis Kovner, my perfect pug.
The Customer Is Always Wrong

I have a very kinda dislike/dislike relationship with daily deal platforms such as Groupon, Living Social, etc. Trusting my gut has always served me well and my gut has always told me most of these platforms care about one thing and it’s not small business.

It’s so easy for many small businesses to get lured into quick revenue and promises of 1000’s of new clients running in the door. And these platforms have gotten so good at presenting all their “facts” that claim their “deals” are game changers.

If you have experienced one of these deals, you may have had one of these outcomes or a mix of the three:
1. Awesome sales, unhappy team members and no return customers.
2. Not so awesome sales, unhappy team members and some return customers.
3. Good sales, happy team members, some return customers.

To me, these platforms are commodity builders, not brand builders. Brands are built through value and meaning, commodities are endless amounts of the same stuff for the lowest price.

So what does this have to do with customers? Well, one of my clients has actually been successful with these types of deal platforms, to my dismay I might add. But then again, they do so many things right. They do not excessively discount, they provide an exceptional experience, they get buy in from their team and they have a program to retain the clients they get via these deals.

Last week, I had a jaw dropping interaction with a deal site that inspired this post. They claimed that the last promotion run with my client was “unsuccessful” and gave me all the reasons why. What floored me is that they never once asked how the promotion did for my client. Had they asked, they would have known my client was very happy, had retained a high percentage of the clients and was ready to sign on for another promotion.

Here is a portion of the email interaction with this sales person:

Sales Person
“It looks like the performance has greatly been hindered because we haven’t added enough value (I’m basing this on historical data from our market and what has been shown to work well) for the consumer. Since this is an impulse buy we need to make sure the customer sees an amazing value right off the bat. This helps in purchases.”

“My client has been very happy with the performance of the previous promotions. They are not looking for a high volume of deal chasers, but for potential long term clients. They have been very successful with retaining the clients that discovered them via these promotions. I would expect success be defined by how the business did with the promotion, not the other way around, or at least seeing both sides before determining if something was successful. If you suggest a higher discount for more volume, we will respectfully pass.”

What is wrong with this picture? A million things…
1. I would think success would be defined by the customer, not the other way around.
2. By value they mean lowest price, which is absolutely sad and disturbing on many levels.
3. They fail to define “work well”, yet I know all it really means is it worked well for them, not my client.
4. Since when is the customer always wrong?

Whether you believe the customer is always right, wrong or a mix of the two, what never changes is that we must define value in the customers eyes and find out what’s important to them, because at the end of the day, if the customer sees value, they buy stuff. And value does not always mean lowest price.

I always knew this was how these deal platforms really felt, but I had never seen it in writing until last week. In the end, the deal platform lost a customer because apparently, the customer is always wrong.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)