Lose a customer? Ask why.

When I was in the ad agency business, the popular wisdom was, “The day you win a new client, you start to lose it.” The point was, no client stays with your agency forever. They may be with you for six months or twenty years, but sooner or later they’ll go to another agency. Sometimes for a reason that you understand, sometimes for a reason that never even occurred to you.

If, despite all your efforts, you lose a piece of business, it’s important that you know why. Maybe your salesperson has been doing a bad job. Maybe the quality of your service has deteriorated. Don’t just walk away from the situation. Ask the customer to be perfectly frank with you, and tell you why you lost the business. It’s information you need so you can fix the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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