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What to do when your client wants to leave

The majority of the time, running a business will be enjoyable and rewarding but now and again you may find that you lose a client or two, often for no apparent reason. Unfortunately that’s life and it will happen. The important thing is knowing exactly what to do when it does. So here are some key points to help you cope when you do lose a client plus the questions to ask when a client leaves.

Don’t take it personally

You may find out about the loss of a client via a number of routes; the client may tell you, they may just stop paying you or they may just cease replying to your correspondence.

Whichever way you hear about the loss, don’t take it personally. Part of the life of being a business owner is to take the rough with the smooth and losing clients, sadly, is just part of that rough. Put on a brave face and deal with the loss; there will be time to reflect later.

When you find out that a client is moving on, the best approach is to act professionally. Avoid getting into a heated debate with the client about their decision and whatever you do, do not tell them they are wrong even if you think this is the case.


Act professionally

If it isn’t obvious to you as to why they have decided to dispense with your services then do ask them, in a polite and non-confrontational way. You could start such a conversation by asking: ‘I am really sorry to hear that I am losing you as a client. So that I can improve my services in the future may I ask what has prompted your decision?’.

As a goodwill gesture and to show there are no hard feelings about the client’s decision do make sure that you wish them well for the future. If they later decide that the move wasn’t the right decision for them this will leave the door open for them to return.

Reflect, learn and move on

Of course, the loss of a client should not just be dismissed; the events leading up to the loss and any reasons given for the departure should be reviewed and reflected upon. Was there anything that could have been done differently to prevent the loss? What could you change to prevent this happening in the future?

Life is far from perfect and you cannot please all of the people all of the time; however we can all learn and improve no matter how long you may have been running your business.

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