How to Lose a Customer in 4 Easy Steps
May 27, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
How to Lose a Cleint in 4 Easy StepsWe have all lost them…that perfect customer who slipped away. Our rationalization might be "it must have been price" or "they went with someone with more and/or less experience". Once in awhile, it is important to examine the real reasons why we might have lost that business. Although the scenarios below may seem preposterous and we would never do any of these things, we all get busy and sometimes take existing business for granted. See if any of these tips ring true.
Tip #1: Always assume the customer or partner is at fault. 

Customers are funny: they always assume they can change their mind and they don’t need to tell us, because after all they are paying the bill. They change the room setting, the menu selection, or the conference equipment rental firm. Now, your life is potential mayhem and everything is wrong. You start to get upset because you are no longer in control.

Okay, take a breath and don’t blame anyone for anything. First ask yourself, are the changes hurting or helping the event? If they are helping, shut up and compliment them on their fantastic ideas. If they are hurting, calmly talk to them about what is going on and the repercussions of their choices. 
Tip #2: Never ask the customer any questions. 

Sometimes we think we know the customer and the event so well, we can produce it with our eyes closed. We have used the same Powerpoint presentation equipment for the last 7 years, so why change? After all, the same meeting has been run the same way since you can remember, so let’s get on with it!

Customers are changing constantly! Their budgets change, personnel at the company changes, mergers happen, and their needs to communicate to their attendees change. We need to ask a ton of questions to make certain we are providing the best event meeting services solution for their meeting at this time. 

Tip #3: Don’t expedite service.

The event & meeting industry is all about service, because ultimately, it is about the attendee’s experience. The customer  isn’t renting a meeting room, they are renting the experience that goes on in that meeting room. So, how are we responding to our customer’s needs? Are we returning phone calls and emails within a specified time period? What about on site requests?

Your organization should have a communication plan that revolves around the customer’s needs. What is the acceptable amount of time to return a phone call? An email? A RFP response? When your organization is on site, how fast will you respond to customer requests? Make certain everyone in the organization knows your policy and abides by it.

Tip #4: Never apologize.

Let’s be real: we all make mistakes. We get busy and forget something. Or we forget to return an important call or are late for an on-site inspection. It’s human and our customer’s make mistakes, too. However, they do not want excuses or to be lied to. Or worse yet, have us get defensive about why something happened. 

Just "fess up" and tell them the truth. Then sincerely apologize. Ask them how you can make it up to them. And then apologize again. Don’t blame anyone else, just jump under the bus yourself. Your customer’s will understand and develop a new level of respect for you. I have done this so many times. It hurts, but they keep coming back, because I mean it.


AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment company, is a  customer-driven organization with quality responses in a timely manner. Give them a call today!
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