15 easy ways to lose clients

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November 14, 2012
15 easy ways to lose clients.

Clients are an important part of any business. But when it comes to web design, clients are everything! Whether it is an individually run enterprise or an establishment owned by several stakeholders; acquiring new clients and retaining old ones is an essential aspect for maintaining your web design business.

With increasing competition on the Internet, it can take a great deal of hard work to expand your client base and continue to retain existing jobs. Businesses invest a lot of time and money in marketing campaigns that will earn them new clients and keep old ones coming back.

Unfortunately, it only takes a single, simple, mistake to lose even your most loyal customers.

Losing clients is detrimental to any business, since they’re necessary for profit. Knowing how to prevent losing your web design clients starts with understanding what can lead to upsetting or turning away customers. Below is a list of 15 mistakes that could cost you your web design clients and ultimately, your business.

1. Be slow to respond

Delays are the number one assassin to many relationships between web designers and their clients. There is nothing more off-putting to customers than making them wait too long for service. This can make regular customers start contemplating leaving and new ones not think twice about looking elsewhere for more prompt service.

Creativity and branding can take time, but business is constantly on the move.

Make sure you communicate with your clients and keep them in the know about every step of your process, so they don’t feel like you’re slacking off if they are waiting on a design or product.

2. Lack courtesy

With so much competition and other designers to choose from, clients want to feel valued by the businesses they decide to give their money to. Treating each and every one of your customers with courtesy leaves a lasting impression of appreciation among clients. If you don’t go the extra mile to treat your clients with care and respect, you risk losing them.

The simplest gestures from holding doors (if you have an office) or saying please and thank you can go a long way.

3. Ignore client feedback

Client satisfaction is one of the vital goals of any enterprise.

The best way to know exactly what clients want is to invite their suggestions on how they would like to be served better and what improvements they would like to see. Quite often, clients will not offer their feedback unless asked for it. So it is up to the business management or owner to ensure that any issues or concerns that customers may have are sourced directly from them and addressed promptly. Failure to do this can result in the driving away of clients over time.

Ignore image

Ignore image via Shutterstock

4. Treat clients differently

In any business, clients should be treated equally, whether they are new or have been around for a long time.

The moment customers realize that they’ve been treated differently they are bound to walk away. So when thinking about offering things like discounts, incentives or reward programs, it is important to make such benefits are available to all clients equally or at a time when customers won’t be able to compare.

5. Charge hidden fees

There is nothing as bad as having to pay extra charges that were not part of your estimated budget whenever you go to buy products or acquire services from a business.

Most businesses that charge extra costs without informing their clients create the impression of being dishonest.


Hidden image via Shutterstock

Try to provide your web design clients with the most accurate estimate upfront. If you’re not 100% about future costs, be honest and let your clients know an estimated potential future cost. Failing to do this could cause customers to think you’re being dishonest or tricking them into paying for more than they need.

Eventually clients could even walk away, because no one likes to do business with people who they think are deceiving them.

6. Don't communicate

Effective communication determines how your clients will rate the level of service that they are provided with. Poor communication can cause clients to come back to make inquiries that should have been answered during their first visit or call. Repeat visits or inquiries pertaining to an initial purchase can be detrimental to the way a client views your customer service. This is not only time consuming for you and the customer, but it exudes a lack of professionalism and knowledge of customer needs, and clients will most certainly be put off by this.

7. Reprimand clients

Demanding clients are very hard to deal with and they can be quite a nuisance.

In the web design industry, you are almost 100% guaranteed to experience a problematic client that’s angry or rude towards you. Being rude back does not do any good, especially if done in front of other clients. This could send the wrong message to new clients who could easily be misled into thinking that this is the norm of how clients are handled whenever they have grievances at your business.

Angry Client

Angry client image via Shutterstock

This could dent the image of any business and cause new clients to run away.

You also want to give all clients the benefit of the doubt and maintain a professional demeanor at all times.

8. Push too hard for the deal

While it is advisable to be assertive when pitching your web design services to a prospective client, pushing too hard for a deal can make a client feel uncomfortable.

People don’t like being pushed into buying something, especially if it is a service or product that they do not have an interest in. It is therefore advisable to know what a client might need before making any suggestions about a service or product.

If you don’t know when to back off, you are sure to lose a prospective customer who also might spread the word that you or your sales technique is too aggressive.

9. Work in a mess

First impressions are everything in business. If your office or place of business is dirty, run down or disorganized, this is the impression you will give your customers.

Keeping a business clean is among the most important tasks that aids in drawing back customers. Unkempt business premises present a negative image of being disorganized and unreliable.

This will surely send any client out the door without looking back.

10. Overprice products or services

Pricing of goods and services is a very sensitive matter to any business, as this can either draw in or drive away clients. It is vital to make sure that clients get fair prices while staying in line with your competition.

Clients will always go for services or products that offer value for their money and when they feel that the prices are unfair, they will no doubt seek an alternative place to go.

Bury your head in the sand

Bury head in sand image via Shutterstock

11. Don't make recommendations

Sometimes you won’t be able to take on a client or provide a service that someone needs. In such situations, making recommendations that can help give the impression that your company can be relied on. This will help develop a positive reputation for you and your company as one that is honest and helpful.

12. Exaggerate services or products

It is never a good idea to exaggerate about what type of services or products you provide; clients do not react well to disappointments.

When customers feel that the services or products they bought did not measure up to what was promised, they feel taken advantage of and that the company was just after their money.

This will kill the chances of developing a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship and is sure to hurt your reputation.

Angry client

Angry customer image via Shutterstock

13. Underestimate your competition

Among the many mistakes that cost most businesses a good number of clients, is underestimating the ability of competitors to woo potential and current clients.

It is important to always keep an eye on the competition in order to be one step ahead of other businesses in your field. Otherwise, your competition will capitalize on where you are lacking.

14. Don't check in with clients

Staying in touch with clients that have developed a long term relationship with your business is an important aspect that should always be addressed. Taking the initiative to check up on what a client needs shows a sense of responsibility and it could save you from losing forgetful clients.

Making sure your clients are happy with the services you provided in the past is an essential customer service strategy.

15. Be unavailable

Clients work with businesses they can count on. They want to be able to call, email or visit their web design company and get answers to their questions and their needs provided.

If you are too engaged to attend to a client or don’t have enough staff to answer phones or emails fast enough, you’ll be losing out on satisfying customers. Making sure you have the staff and technology to maintain a strong service base is crucial for avoiding the loss of clients or prospects.


Unavailable image via Shutterstock


As you can see, there are a ton of mistakes that web design businesses can make that can upset or anger clients. This can result in losing prospective and current customers, or even worse, ruining the reputation of your business.

The 15 possible errors above are just a few of the things that you need to avoid as a business owner; there are many more. Which is why you need to spend as much time focusing on servicing your clients and keeping them happy as you do campaigning for new ones.

What's the worst mistake you ever made dealing with a client? Can you recover from mistakes? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Alexa D’Agostino

Alexa D’Agostino is the CEO of Black Rhino Solutions, Inc., a leading Westchester Web Design company located in New York. Alexa is also the CMO of You Wanna Know This, an eBook library resource for exclusive how-to guides and educational information.

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