By the end of this year, The Wealthy Tutor will be celebrating our tenth anniversary of helping people get started in the tutoring industry. To mark this upcoming milestone, I could reflect back on the years and tell you all the things we did right to become the successful company that we are. However I think it would be more instructive and less self-congratulatory to reflect on the many things that we did wrong.
As I am a big fan of top ten lists, I have compiled the following mostly, I will admit, from my own personal experience. Managing my own companies has given me many opportunities to make mistakes, ranging from the small, easily fixable to the catastrophic customer-losing variety. And because losing customers is so much easier than gaining new ones, there is much profit to learning from my mistakes. Without further adieu, I present you with my…
Top Ten Ways to Lose a Customer:
1. Don’t answer the phone: I always list my mobile number for sales and customer support, so if a customer or potential customer has a question they will usually get a live person immediately. Some customers will only call once, so if they go to voicemail, you have lost them as a potential customer. Many of my callers are surprised that someone actually answered the phone, especially in the evening or on Sunday. Answering your phone is the easiest way to make a good first impression.
2. Don’t return an e-mail: I don’t believe anyone purposely doesn’t respond to customer emails, however it is easy to forget to respond, especially if you get dozens of messages per day. Respond immediately to all your messages, or make a note to respond later so you don’t forget. And if your email service automatically filters out junk mail, be sure to check your junk mail folder daily, in case an important message gets filtered out. I have lost at least several customers due to junk mail filtering.
3. Lose your patience: No matter what is going on in your life at the moment you answer the call, you must put on your happy face and be properly engaged and pleasant with your customer. This may sound obvious but I still need to remind myself of this from time to time, especially if a customer is impolite or asks the same questions over and over. Never let the customer think they are being rushed or that you have something else you would rather be doing.
4. Oversell your product: Customers often call me to clarify exactly what my business start-up systems are all about, and who they are for. If I think that my system is not appropriate for their application, I will tell them so up front, rather than sell them something they don’t need. Overselling is not only wrong, but it is costly and time consuming as well, because the customer will likely return the product if it’s not exactly what they were looking for in the first place.
5. Don’t answer questions: Always take the time to answer all your customers’ questions, whether by phone, email or other no matter how long it takes. I have had customers who emailed me dozens of questions over the course of several months and, because I continued to take the time to answer their questions fully, they eventually purchased my products. The longer a sale takes me to close, the more determined I become and the sweeter the success when it finally closes!
Tune in next week for more Top Ten Ways to Lose a Customer!
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