Have you ever wondered why a client left and started doing business elsewhere? From your point of view, you made all the right moves; all interaction with the client was pleasant and professional. You didn’t do anything wrong, however, a good client is now a former client. As kids will say today… WTF?
I think I figured it out—sort of. Sometimes it is nothing that was done or said. There is just a different set of circumstances that came up during the next interaction. Not good. Not bad. It dawned on me when I thought about a recent experience with a local kennel. The kennel I had been using for the nine years was an excellent facility for caring for my dog. After one boarding experience, they quite literally saved my dog’s life. Large chested dogs are subject to a condition called bloat or gastric torsion where the stomach twists and expands. It is a nearly always-fatal condition if not caught early. The owner recognized this on a Sunday and rushed my girl off to the emergency clinic. For this reason alone, I was forever indebted and felt I would always use this facility for the rest of my dog’s life.
Fast forward to a few months ago. My old dog passed away and a rescue dog adopted us as his forever home. My first thought, of course, was to head back to our old stand-by kennel. However, over the past few months, I had been reading recommendations about another kennel. Doing some investigating, I found they offered services the original kennel did not. To be specific, they had a program to not only board my dog but to train him as well. I tried to get on their schedule, but the program was full. I immediately got on the phone and booked a week at my former kennel.
Later that day, the new kennel had a cancellation and called to see if I still wanted to book the stay. I had to call and cancel the original kennel and booked my dog for a two-week stay including training at one of the trainer’s homes that lived on the property. The kennel sensed how nervous we were dropping off a dog we had just picked up from a shelter to a new and unfamiliar kennel. As we were heading off on vacation, we received a call from the facility to let us know how well he was doing. Talk about making us feel better!
If you know anything about dog training, you know a professional spends more time training the humans than the dog! We had a thirty minute session when we picked up our dog to go over his commands and we were emailed a link to a video of his training sessions. During checkout, our trainer mentioned how we could continue training and get a discount (can you say up-sell) by purchasing four sessions at once. We bit; and are now going to weekly training sessions to build up our dog’s confidence. A dog that needed three people to get him into the car leaving the shelter now excitedly waits for the car door to open!
The point I am trying to make is I should literally owe my old dog’s life to my former kennel; but now my needs have changed. The old kennel did nothing wrong. Sometimes clients are like this, too. They leave and it is not because of anything you or your agency did. Price and convenience is usually not a factor — I am actually driving a bit farther and paying more for the services. So, I figure that the former client is not a former client because of something I did. Just like the kennel, the situation changed. No harm, no foul. As for the original kennel—they are still getting glowing recommendations from me!