TMCnet Feature
May 11, 2021

Common Mistakes Made by Small Businesses That Cost Them Clients

Nothing is more vital to the success of a small business than a steady stream of repeat clients. As such, maintaining a constant air of professionalism, meticulously meeting deadlines and understanding client expectations should be high atop the priorities list of every business owner. Unfortunately, without even realizing it, a staggering number of fledgling entrepreneurs make a bevy of rookie mistakes that commonly result in the loss of clients. Needless to say, if your business is just getting its start, losing important clients can prove downright ruinous. In the interest of cultivating trust with your client base and maintaining their business for years to come, take care to avoid the following blunders.

Improper Shipping Practices

If your business is built around shipping merchandise to clients, you should take extra care in ensuring that shipments arrive on time and undamaged. For starters, selecting a highly-rated shipping partner that specializes in the types of products you sell can be a boon to your delivery efforts. Secondly, investing in tools that help protect precious cargo – like RFID tracking aids – can help limit instances of shipments becoming damaged while in transit.  

Habitually Missing Deadlines

Missing deadlines is arguably the worst thing any enterprise looking to retain clients can do. In addition to violating client trust, habitually shrugging off deadlines is liable to generate negative word of mouth and lead to a loss of new business. As such, it’s strongly recommended that you avoid committing to deadlines that are beyond your team’s abilities. When trying to attract new clients, many business owners succumb to the temptation of overpromising, thereby putting their respective workforces in a bind. Not only is this liable to run your team ragged, it’s unlikely to instill employee loyalty. No one enjoys working for an employer who consistently asks the impossible, and some of your most valued team members may wind up jumping ship at the earliest opportunity if this becomes the norm.

Committing to unrealistic deadlines may ultimately prove damaging to your relationships with clients, too. While patrons are sure to appreciate having projects completed in an expedient manner, speed is not always synonymous with quality, and they may not be particularly pleased with the final product. To nip this problem in the bud, make a point of only committing to deadlines your team can comfortably work within. Furthermore, once you’ve committed, a deadline should be regarded as sacrosanct.    

Failing to Communicate with Clients

You’d be hard-pressed to find a small business for which client communication isn’t vitally important. If you fail to keep clients in the know, you may discover that they were on a completely different page upon the completion of big projects. This can result in wasted time, effort and money and cause considerable damage to your professional reputation. If a client doesn’t feel as if their input, questions or concerns are being taken seriously, they’re unlikely to want to work with you again in the future.

With this in mind, make yourself available to clients and encourage them to get in touch whenever they need a question addressed or wish to offer their thoughts on a project. Additionally, keep your clients in the know throughout every phase of a project’s completion, as this helps ensure that everyone stays on the same page. 

Not Displaying Courtesy or Professionalism 

A surprising number of small business owners regard common courtesy as an alien concept. Even if the work your team produces is consistently stellar, you’re likely to lose clients if you regularly exhibit curtness, irritation or general rudeness in your interactions with them. In many cases, such discourtesy is purely unintentional, so it pays to put careful thought into your words and actions when communicating with clients. Going the extra mile to be polite and professional and express client appreciation at every turn will keep a lot of first-time patrons coming back.

In order for any business to remain solvent, repeat patrons are essential. However, if you expect clients to keep coming back, it’s imperative that your enterprise prove itself trustworthy. Without meaning to, a surprising number of small businesses wind up squandering client trust and tanking their chances of repeat business. As such, avoiding the most common pratfalls that destroy professional relationships should be among the foremost priorities of every business owner. 

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