Don’t assume your best customers are locked in

Editor’s Notice: Every week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the previous COO of eBay, will provide candid, sensible, and generally stunning recommendation to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a query, write to Webb at [email protected].

Q. I simply misplaced a long-term buyer that I believed was locked in. I had no thought and I don’t need this to occur once more. What did I miss?

-Managing director of a fintech firm

Pricey Managing Director,

It is a tough scenario, however you are not alone in experiencing this.


Firms attempt to get customers “locked in” and generally, as soon as they do, they change into complacent. It is a harmful place to be. Customers are by no means locked in. You is likely to be the dominant participant in the present day, however it could not keep that approach tomorrow. Every part is all the time altering, folks are always innovating, and there are all the time new choices changing into out there.

I perceive your buyer’s perspective as a result of I’ve skilled this personally. I began with a workforce that did a great job and I wanted the service they offered. They knew that and continued to supply me the identical service. However over time, my wants developed and the service they offered didn’t. I consider there have been indicators that I used to be outgrowing them—I needed to carry in different folks to assist me assume via how one can deal with the following phases and supply companies they didn’t provide. Nevertheless, they didn’t see it as an indication of my unhappiness. They by no means requested if my wants had modified or if I used to be happy with what we have been doing collectively. I consider they assumed I used to be locked in, and have been very shocked after I left, however I wanted new knowledge and companies greater than I wanted to keep away from the switching prices or trouble.

By no means assume {that a} buyer will stick with you. When you get a buyer, you could work tirelessly to maintain them. In all relationships, whether or not it’s a marriage or a enterprise partnership or a buyer, you need to deal with folks as if everyone seems to be opting in on a regular basis. You may’t really feel entitled; you’ll be able to’t assume that somebody received’t go away. The best solution to be opted in is to verify each side are delighted.

It’s essential to remain in contact and ensure the client is feeling engaged. It is best to ask your buyer questions like, “Is that this working for you,” “What else can I be doing?” and “What can I do higher?”

At all times examine in, with the understanding that issues evolve. Go over what you are doing collectively and focus on what can change. Ask in the event that they are in a distinct place. Study in regards to the strategic imaginative and prescient and plan. Ask them what they want to do subsequent. Ask, “What else are you desirous about?”


It’s essential to ensure you are on observe—and to get forward of the place they are proper now. It’s a must to assess not simply what you could have been doing however anticipate what new wants is likely to be and run forward of that. Know the place your buyer is and the place they are going and convey them options on the applicable time so you’ll be able to develop and evolve with them.

It is best to know what each buyer is considering your relationship. If somebody asks them on scale 1-10 how delighted they are, you need to know what that rating is and why.

Don’t assume your buyer can’t go elsewhere. They will. Do all the pieces in your energy to verify they need to stick with you.


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