Today, I want to talk to you about how you can easily lose customers in less than a minute. There are three ways, actually there are more, but I’m going to discuss three ways today.

First, you cannot answer the phone. One of the things about people looking for our services, they want to call someone. If they call, they want someone to answer the phone. Frequently, you’ll find businesses that don’t answer the phone, or if they do answer the phone it may be a voicemail message, or they’ll put them on hold.

If you put them on hold for more than 15, 20 seconds, they’re going to hang up and call somebody else, so that’s the first way. The second way is forget that they’re your customers. I’ll talk about a little bit more about that further. The third way is forget about them, completely.

Let’s go in a little bit more detail. The first way is, if they call your business, you need to answer the phone. If you’re not able to answer the phone, then you can have a message saying, “Hey, we’re not able to answer the phone,” but your business hours are not necessarily the business hours of your clients or customers.

If you’re open from nine to five, maybe, you should consider answering the phone after nine to five. You can still talk to the people, you can talk with them, you can schedule an appointment, etc.

You’re going to find that in this environment these days, people don’t operate from nine to five. If you’re a nine to five business, or an eight to four business, or eight to five business, you’re going to lose customers, if you don’t answer the phone with a real live person.

The second way, of course, is forgetting that you have customers. Sometimes, we get so focused on getting new customers and new business, we ignore existing customers and that’s a mistake. Because your existing customers have used you for, maybe a year, 2 years, 3 years, 20 years, 15 years.

Maybe, they don’t spend as much per job as a new customer, but they’ve stuck with you for a long time, so remember the loyal customers and treat them with respect.

Obviously, what you want to do is, don’t ignore them. A lot of times ‑‑ I mentioned this just a few seconds ago ‑‑ is you ignore your existing customers. Don’t forget about them. Reach out to them from time to time.

I prefer every month to reach out to existing clients and customers, educate them on something and, at least, share a little bit about what’s going on, because you might think that they won’t forget your name, but they will.

I’m going to use a perfect example. I’m a small business marketing consultant, and we obviously contact a lot of perspective customers for a lot of clients. I used this mailing list company once, and for the life of me I could not remember the name. I kept on spelling it wrong. I looked at my emails, and there was nothing there.

Finally, it was about five months later. I got reached out to by one of their sales consultants. Then I could, obviously, touch base with them and use them, but their mistake was they should’ve reached out to me every month.

If they had reached out to me every month, I probably would’ve used them later and used them earlier, rather than some of their customers. You can easily lose your customers within a minute. Follow these tips and don’t lose them.