7 Guaranteed Ways to Lose a Customer


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…because my loyalty does have limits

You failed them again.  Be honest – face the facts!  You worked hard for years to build a loyal customer base and now look at you.  Your customers are leaving in droves.  What happened?

7 Guaranteed Ways to Lose a Customer

Sales are down, bills now pile up.  Employee morale is low and coming to work is no longer fun.

When business was good you thought it would last forever.  You stopped doing the things that brought you success and took your customers for granted.  You became the “bad boss”…

What happened?  How did you get into this position?

I bet if you asked your customers why they stopped shopping with you these are the reasons they would give.

7 Guaranteed Ways to Lose a Customer

Don’t Patronize Me

I don’t care about the industry jargon or technical terms used to describe why the product stopped working.  Speak to me like a person.  Explain the problem in terms I can understand and make sense.  Only then will I agree to pay for the repair or replacement.  If not, I don’t need your product or company.  I’ll go somewhere else.  There are plenty other businesses to choose from.

Don’t Make Me Feel Unimportant

I need to know you appreciate my business and value me as a part of your success.  I need to feel welcomed when I enter your business and receive a warm and sincere smile.  That’s not asking for too much.  That’s the least I expect.

Don’t Give Me Excuses

I understand problems arise that are out of your control.  Deliveries arrive late, product shortages happen and unseen damage and costs are unavoidable.  Just be honest and tell me the truth.  Don’t make up a story that I can easily see through.  I need to trust you but I can’t do that anymore.

Don’t Leave Me Waiting

Once, while patiently waiting in line at your reception desk and just as I approached the counter, your receptionist answered the phone and entered into a lengthy conversation.  Have some consideration.  I’m not invisible and my time is also valuable.  Remember, I’m the customer.  Tend to me promptly and with courtesy.  If not, your competition will.

Don’t Substitute Inferior Products

I’ve used your product for years and have always been happy with it.  But now, just to save costs, you started to use cheaper ingredients.  I can tell the difference, and I’m not happy with it.  Please go back to using the highest quality items as you’ve always done before, that’s why I come here.

Don’t Hire Apathetic Employees

If you don’t realize that customer service is why I return your business will never recover.  It’s the employees that “make the business”, not the fancy furnishings or artwork on the walls.  Your latest batch of employees doesn’t seem to care about me.  They spend too much time talking to each other and their eyes are always focused on their phone.

“I’m here, sell me something.  I actually want to spend money here”, I want to tell them.  But I don’t think it would make a difference.  Where did you get these people from?

Don’t Fail to Reinvest in the Business

I understand that when things are tight the business can’t spend too much money.  But you must fix what’s broken.  Your seats are torn and your carpet worn.  Your counter is chipped and your front door slams after every use.  Your walls need a paint job and your once fine landscaping is in desperate need.  This doesn’t change the products you sell but it does change the overall experience I receive.  Add this to the other items above and you will quickly see why I, and many others, no longer want to come here.

As your long-time customer, I don’t ask for much, or maybe I do.  But that’s what business is all about – satisfying the needs of the customer.

My loyalty does have limits just as your loyalty to my satisfaction does. But it’s not too late.  You can recover.

Many books have been written about how to lose a customer without really trying or how much does it cost to lose a customer.  But that’s not important now.  We can fix this – and without the help of a book.

As customers we are a forgiving bunch.  We like you and want the best for you too.  We want to keep coming back here but you need to change.  Please remember that a successful business is like a championship sports team.  We are all in this together.

But if you don’t do your part the team will break up.  You’ll be out of business…but I can always find another team.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve DiGioia
Steve uses his 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry to help companies and their employees improve service, increase morale and provide the experience their customers' desire. Author of "Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift...Even If You're a Bad Waiter" and named an "ICMI Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leader" and a "Top Customer Service Influencer" by CCW Digital, Steve continues his original customer service, leadership and management-based writings on his popular blog.


  1. Hi Steve, isn’t it that loyalty doesn’t only have limits but in most cases very narrow ones? Actually, mostly customers are not loyal at all – and why should they be, as companies need to earn this loyalty.

    2 ct from Down Under

  2. Hi Pauline,

    The customer’s time is just as valuable, maybe even more, than that of the business. Remember the Seinfield episode where George was charged for cancelling a doctors appointment then charged the same doctor when he cancelled on George at a later date?

    Thanks much for your comment.

  3. Thomas,

    Today’s business society has made customer loyalty very difficult. We must work hard to earn it, and continue to improve to ensure it’s worth. Thanks.


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