Why We've Lost Clients

We’ve lost clients.

Let me define “lost.”

We had to have them in the first place. They were clients, then they weren’t.

It’s painful to lose a client, assuming they were a good client. We’ve gotten much better at choosing clients that will be good clients for us. The obviously positive aspect of that is that we have a much lower chance of being a bad fit for each other if we establish that we’d be a good fit for each other.

But when we’re a great fit, it makes it so much tougher to go our separate ways.

In our experience thus far, we haven’t lost a client loudly.

Mostly, they leave quietly.

Which is the worst.

How are we supposed to know what we did wrong? How do we know if we did anything wrong at all?

The truth is that it’s the business’s—OUR—responsibility to understand how we lost them, and take steps to prevent it from happening in the future.

In our earlier days, we’d lose clients because our work quality sucked. We’ve fixed that. Our talent is better, we’ve added internal quality assurance processes, and we’ve gotten better at only selling services that we know we can execute on really really well.

In the not-so-distant past, we’d lose clients because our clients honestly didn’t know what we had to offer. We confused them. This was partly due to having very unclear messaging.

Were we a production company? A brokerage? A tacky, local, manual version of Upwork?

Nobody knew. (Including us, tbh.)

In addition to shit messaging, we added layers of complexity to our company. Tons of offers, claiming we could do all these things that we couldn’t. That’s the classic service agency trap.

Why did we do that?

Well, MY excuse was that we were diversifying. That the decisions were market-driven, and that people were asking for it.

Meh. Maybe.

But it was mostly ego.

We wanted to feel big, look big, be complicated to impress people.

But we learned that people are more impressed by simply great work.

Lesson learned.

There’s probably one other reason why we’ve lost clients: we tend to work in bursts of activity from the client’s perspective.

We’re still working on this.

Because on our end we’re constantly working on, thinking about, strategizing for our clients. But not all of that is visible.

So when all of that culminates, the client feels like we’ve just unleashed the beasts on them. And they wonder, “Where was this the whole time?”

Consistency. A readiness and willingness to show our clients behind the scenes. Showing them the hard but exciting work, and visibly being there for them every step of the way.

That’s what we want to do.

If you run a service-based business like we do, then I’d encourage you to do the same.