7 Painful Reasons Your Customers Break Up With You

Reasons Customers Break-up With YouYou’ve heard it before: “It’s not you: It’s me.” Or perhaps you heard nothing at all, and the regular stream of customers who were once hot for you has slowed to a trickle.

But the truth of the matter that it is you, and unless you take immediate action to rekindle the flames, your customers and subscribers will move on to greener pastures. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Read on to find out why your profitable customers dump you, and what you can do to turn the tide.

Reason #1: “You never call me anymore.”

It goes without saying that you don’t want to nag your customers with constant contact, but too many entrepreneurs do just the opposite – they give dead silence for far too long. Frequent (enough) contact is critical for staying fresh in the customer’s mind, and for those who feel skittish about contacting customers/prospects on a regular basis, take the edge off – don’t make every contact a sales effort. Give something of value for free and show the customer that yes, you do love them for their mind.

Reason #2: “You’re so selfish.”

As a capitalist, making the sale is well, a primary reason of being in business. But your customer doesn’t care about how great you are – they care about you solving their problems and making their lives better. Their problems. Their lives. Don’t tell them how great your product is or how many awards our services have won. Tell them how you can make their lives better, and then they’ll see how great you are. Remember, they have needs here, and if you’re not going to meet them than some other capitalist will. (Cue “I Will Survive” music here.)

Reason #3: “I’m just a piece of meat to you.”

Sure, you tell your customers you love them, but do you respect them in the morning after the check clears? Your customer service reveals all. Are you making it easy for customers to get in contact with your support pipeline? Do you handle even the harshest complaints with grace and class? (You should – the make-up-sales are worth it.) Think of how much you bragged to others about a raw deal that was made more-than-right by a rock-out customer service department. Then rock-out yourself, so that your customers spread the word about how great you are in biz.

Reason #4: “Hey pal, my eyes are up here.”

Yeah, you just got caught checking out the customer’s … wallet. (S)he saw you sizing it up, waaay too early. Killed the mood. You’ve got to handle it with finesse, my friend. Don’t try and make the sale instantly – in fact, don’t try and make the sale at all. As top sales coach Ari Galper teaches, focus on connecting with the customer, on discovering whether you really fit the need (s)he has … and take it easy. If you do a good enough job framing how “compatible” you both are, you won’t have to be the one making the next move.

Reason #5: “You’ve really let yourself go.”

You give your all when trying to win a customer – but do you hold yourself to the same standards after you build up a solid customer base? Are your ears still sharp for their feedback? Is your service still 100%? Or are you slacking a bit, coasting along on the wave of your previous success? You may be able to cruise for a while, but if you let your success get in the way of a constant commitment to give your all, don’t be surprised when you get dumped. Aim to impress, every day.

Reason #6: “I’m just not ready for that kind of commitment.”

Your best customers are what Tom Peters calls your “raving fans” – the ones who will buy whatever you put out next, just because it’s from you. You get those customers because you’ve mastered the art of meeting their needs in such a world-class way that they fell a primal need to sing your praises and defend you against the naysayers. Read books like these to learn how to turn your customers into your “sure thing.”

Reason #7: “I’m not sure where this relationship is going.”

Unless you plan to make only one sale (ever) per customer, you’ve got to have a plan to guide your customer into repeat purchases. You’ve got to understand your customers, anticipate their needs and wants, and build a business that speaks to what they need every step of the way. Think about it: If you don’t know why your customer should keep doing business with you, how can you expect them to do the same? Madison Avenue refugee Ben Mack says it best in his personal mantra: “Think Two Products Ahead.” Know where you’re going, so your customer knows they need to stick around for the ride.

Tell Us How Your Ex Won You Back

Paul Simon may say there are 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, but I bet we can come up with 100 ways to pick up the pieces. Before you go anywhere else on the web today, tell us how great customer service won you back (or how you saved the day when your customer wanted to break up). Your 100+ comments on my last post shared your wisdom with thousands of people; let’s do it again. I can’t wait to read what you have to say.

Keep it rocking,



Dave Navarro is all about helping you get more done faster. Pick up your free “More Time” kit at your30hourday.com.



  1. says

    Brutal, unfettered honesty in tandem with free stuff. That’s my solution. As in:

    “I’m really sorry I screwed up. I don’t have much of an excuse for it but my gerbil died and honestly, I’m handling it like a three-year-old who lost his blankie. Let me give you something free to assuage my guilt.”

    (In the interests of full disclosure, my gerbil did not die. I’ve never had a gerbil. If you wish, feel free to send a donation in lieu of flowers anyway.)

  2. says

    Thanks, that was a great article. Keeping your customers needs in mind is important, and sometimes hard to do when you know that they aren’t factually correct :)

  3. says

    Awesome reminders! I don’t know a freelancer who hasn’t made one of those mistakes at least once.

    Sometimes it is best pull out the hand written cards and do some old fashioned communicating. You’d be amazed at what it can do for your business.

  4. says

    Great article, and good points to keep in mind, not only after the fact but while building a customer base as well!
    How to get an ex-customer back? Perhaps by making them feel as they did when your relationship was great. If they felt supported and content, perhaps try to get them to feel that way again with you. HTH,
    Laura Gagnon

  5. says

    Great article

    I want to add an 8th one but am having a blockage in my whitty gland. Something about “The distance between us has grown to great”.

    We have had problems here and there with less (or un) structured long distance clients. With no formal process, things flow and change quickly, and if you are not there to perceive it, a disconnect happens. With good project managers on both ends, it is rarely an issue. But it has happened when the key communicators got too busy or stepped out entirely.

  6. says

    LOL! This is great – you rock Dave! I almost broke up with a contractor once after a job wasn’t done right and I ended up doing all of the work myself and being late on the project. Instead, an absolute acceptance on his part of what went wrong – without any excuses or justification – saved the relationship and we are still happily together today :)

  7. says

    Shane –
    “Long Distance Relationships Don’t Work For Me”

    Christine –
    Thanks, I worked hard on this one … only to find out Digg blocked it because Jon had a high-digg article a few days before me. Curse you Digg Algorithms!!!!!

    Glad to hear things worked out for you and yours :-)

  8. says

    if i could have left my web developer/designer last week, i would have. zero communication on their part created on unhappy client. can you hear me? i now am the squeaky wheel. and it was totally unavoidable, if my PM would have simply kept me in the loop. not only did being left in the dark make me angry, it let me know that my schedule wasn’t important to them and lastly, that i was one of the herd. or flock, depending on your animal of choice. as someone who is about to launch her own company, i refuse to baaah or mooo and as a result, my customers will never have to either. communication people! it’s just that simple. even if you only say, ‘i don’t know’, it’s better than leaving someone in the dark.

  9. says

    Enjoued all the comments. We are a small company-me the old father and grandfather and my daughter developing a semi strong company in chimney sweep and air duct cleaning et al. My sincere thanks for the help with customers which we are all working hard on. Thanks again, Russ


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