Top 10 Ways to Lose a Client
10. Don't Return Phone Calls or E-mails
As simple as it might seem, some people are terrible about returning phone calls or e-mails. Nothing makes a client feel more unimportant than being ignored.
9. Hit Them Up With Large Additional Service Fees - After the Fact
I am all for getting paid for our work, however we do owe it to the client to advise them in advance that we are now performing work outside of our original scope of services. The agreement should be in writing and include an estimate of our fee, a schedule of deliverables and be signed by the client before we do the work.
We have a professional responsibility to give our client our best advice, even if they don't want to hear it.
-- Herb Cannon
8. Send Invoices 2 Months or More After the Services Were Performed
When we send out late invoices we are sending the wrong message to our clients. We are saying to our client that money is unimportant to us. Or worse yet that we are so disorganized that it takes us 2 months to send out our invoices. It also sends a lot of other messages but it is beyond the scope of this top ten list to itemize.
7. Switching Project Managers in Mid-Stream
Yes, switching project managers is often unavoidable and sometimes the best thing for the project and client. But all too often I see project managers switched for reasons that are not in the best interest of the client. Do this often enough and you'll be looking for a new client.
6. Telling the Client What They Want to Hear
We have a professional responsibility to give our client our best advice, even if they don't want to hear it. That is why they have retained our services. Don't fall into the trap of telling them what they want to hear, it is a shortsighted strategy that will come back to bite you.
5. Leaving One Person as the Sole Client Contact
Being the sole client contact is a dangerous place to be for both the employee and company. Don't put yourself or employee in that position.
4. Over Promise and Under Deliver
Some firms get it wrong. Instead of under promising and over delivering, they flip it around. They promise the client the world and then wonder why the client is disappointed with their performance.
3. Making No Effort to Know Your Client Personally
It is important to learn something about your client's life outside of the project at hand. People do business with people they like. They tend to overlook their shortcomings and even refer them business with other clients. I have made many friends over the years through my consulting work and it has added to the quality of my life.
2. Being Reactive Rather Than Proactive
A client appreciates and expects us to be proactive in addressing their project needs. Don't wait for them to take the initiative in identifying problems and solving them.
1. Don't Make Them Feel Important
People have a basic human need to feel important. When we take the repeat business for grant it, switch project managers, miss deadlines and under perform, they feel unimportant and start to look elsewhere. Make them feel important is not an option - it is required.
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