My Business Tips by Tim Shaw April 2007

How to lose customers in your business.

Do you realize how easy it is to lose your customers? Most business operators don't even know they have lost them and sadly some of these business owners don't care enough to pick up the phone and talk to those lost customers. Here is just a sample of local customers who have changed their purchasing decisions or customer loyalty because of bad policy and decisions made by companies big and small.

One Newport customer has cancelled all their business with a major telephone company because their entire home and residential billing and customer service department has been transferred off shore to India . The phone operators whilst well educated had impossible accents to understand. When the customer asked to speak to a person in Australia about an account dispute, they were told no one in Australia works in that business area anymore. That customer stopped all their accounts immediately. That customer was worth $4000.00 annually in phone calls and internet to that company.

A small business at Dee Why offers a petrol discount of 4 cents a litre in line with the national supermarket chain they are associated with. Then when you go to pay, they want to charge you a 2.5% surcharge for using your credit card. That customer does not buy fuel there anymore. They asked if the supermarket chain knew of this surcharge policy on credit card payments and the cashier said yes.

A local pub charges $24 for a jug of 2.2 litres of beer, which is nearly the equivalent price of a case of twenty four 375ml cans of the same beer at their drive through liquor outlet next door. Plus the same jug of beer was being sold that day at another pub in Coogee for $14. This is blatant overcharging and a rip off. Those lads have stopped going to that local pub.

Have a serious look at your current policies and start talking to your customers, firstly thanking them for their business, and if necessary saying sorry if you have made a mistake. Importantly ask them if there is anything that is bugging them about your business and its customer service policies or pricing. It is better to turn a customer from hell into your best referral, simply by acknowledging you got it wrong.

Talk to your team and read them this story. Email me their feedback about the changes to bad policy you have already made with your product or service to You may find your team have ideas worth sharing. Let me know what you discussed with your team on these and other issues you would like me to review in a forthcoming column Happy Selling 2007.

Tim Shaw appears as the sales and marketing expert on My Business - Channel 7 from 10am with David Koch, Sunday mornings commencing late 2007 . He can diagnose sales and marketing opportunities available for your business today. Tim is available as a keynote speaker for your next sales meeting or conference. Visit or contact Tim directly at

Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved Tim Shaw.