Don’t assume your best customers are locked in

Editor’s Be aware: Every week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the previous COO of eBay, will supply candid, sensible, and generally shocking 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 assumed was locked in. I had no concept 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 troublesome state of affairs, however you are not alone in experiencing this.

Firms try to get customers “locked in” and generally, as soon as they do, they grow to be complacent. It is a harmful place to be. Customers are by no means locked in. You could be the dominant participant in the present day, however it might not keep that approach tomorrow. All the things is at all times altering, individuals are continuously innovating, and there are at all times 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 group that did a great job and I wanted the service they supplied. They knew that and continued to supply me the identical service. However over time, my wants advanced and the service they supplied didn’t. I imagine there have been alerts that I used to be outgrowing them—I needed to deliver in different individuals to assist me suppose via how you can deal with the following phases and supply companies they didn’t supply. Nonetheless, 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 had been doing collectively. I imagine they assumed I used to be locked in, and had been very shocked once I left, however I wanted new knowledge and companies greater than I wanted to keep away from the switching prices or problem.

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

It’s vital to remain in contact and ensure the client is feeling engaged. It’s 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 verify in, with the understanding that issues evolve. Go over what you are doing collectively and talk about what can change. Ask in the event that they are in a unique 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 fascinated with?”


It’s essential to ensure you are on observe—and to get forward of the place they are proper now. You must assess not simply what you may have been doing however anticipate what new wants could 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’s best to know what each buyer is considering your relationship. If somebody asks them on scale 1-10 how delighted they are, it is best to know what that rating is and why.

Don’t assume your buyer can’t go some place else. They’ll. Do the whole lot in your energy to ensure they need to stick with you.