How to: Lose a Loyal Customer / Brand Advocate (Part 1)

Now, this is not an easy blog to write and I aim to do it with dignity and grace, but I’ve just been through a horrible break-up as a customer and it still hurts.

I loved them, truly, and not only “would’ve done anything”, but I believe, as best I could, I “did” everything I could to help them with no expectation except goodwill. But as with many relationships, it is only through hindsight that you realise you are the only one valuing what there is.

And, tell me off, because we broke up mid-year! But they begged me to come back and promised things would be different… And you know the story, we go back to an “ex” even though we have started with someone lovely and new… But I wanted to believe in “us” and my brand advocacy that I trusted it would be better.

So here I am now, hurt for a second time, wanting to reflect and take something positive away from this experience – my “lesson” from being a loyal customer.

As indicated by my title, I wanted to write a Blog about “how to lose a loyal client” (read Part 2), but it’s too raw right now. And when you have written words telling me:   “…doesn’t give you any special right to just do what you want at the expense of our business” and “to walk away without even a thank you shows a weak character”, my thinking is just to want defend myself – human conditioning, for me at least.

So I will come back and teach you my marketing tips on how to lose loyal customers soon.

Do i know my lesson? Yes! Value is subjective and friendship and business do not often work. No matter what I say to these business owners, they will never value my contribution and goodwill in monetary terms. I have learnt the hard way to never devalue my service and contra-deal without clear boundaries that reflect my real world worth of services rendered.

A good lesson learnt, really, if JoElla Marketing is to be a success.

The school of hard knocks is fine, but hard when it gets personal. But I’m a tough cookie who’s been through much bigger issues than this over my 41 years. So I have dusted myself off and head back to the business who does want and value my clientele, even if there are a few battle scars to heal.

Read Part 2: How to Lose a Loyal Customer / Brand Advocate

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10 Comments

  1. Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Wow!! What a heartfelt blog Megan!!! And pertinent and timely for me.
    I’ve just been approached by a friend of a friend to ‘pick my brains’ for what I would charge out as a billable service. Your blog has poked my intuitive intelligence to go back and clarify a few more things before we proceed!!! Thank you so much for being so courageous x

    • Megan Barrow
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Hi Bron

      Thanks for your lovely words and understand it was written from the heart.

      Contra deals can work, but just ensure that boundaries are clearly written and agreed upon, and also that everyone’s true monetary value is agreed upon. My lesson of undervaluing in this contradeal as well as paying for part of their services, was not smart on my front. So they lost a paying client, and I received a lot of ill-will due to them not understanding my work for them.

      Lessons galore 😉

  2. Iain
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Aaah memories! The only thing I can offer is that it will happen again. But next time you’ll do it earlier and easier. And again the time after that. It doesn’t get easier to do, but you do get better at understanding when it must be done. I empathise.

    • Megan Barrow
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Hi Iain

      Yes, sometimes we need a few hits to the head before we realise that it’s better to move away from that brick wall! I think certain personalities can get caught up in the romance of helping people, but too often “we” get taken for granted.

      It may happen again, but I know I will be a lot more savvy up front and will use these latest lessons wisely in a written agreement with clear boundaries.

  3. Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    WOW HOW timely – I have been down this path – given everything, given so much for free (and worse than that given away what has actually cost me not only my time but real $) and assumed it was valued by my client(s) to find out because it was so freely given it was UNDER valued or not valued at all (almost assumed a right to have) and to have some recently say “I’ve never had to pay before so why should I now”, or to have some move away to another firm they have had to pay HEAPS HEAPS more $ for but who deliver less than I do.

    MAJOR LESSON people listen in to the blog when written for sure!

    • Megan Barrow
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Hi Sonja

      Realising that beyond some catharsis, that this blog is resonating with people and I’m so glad I listened to my gut and heart and posted it.

      Sorry you’ve been through the same thing. It’s not nice at all and can make us feel even less valued, but that where the lesson is – we need to value our services and work more highly and be strong in standing up for our business’ services at the first signs.

      I believe in goodwill and helping clients beyond a “contract” but I’m getting smarter with who values this part of my personality and who takes it for granted and wants “more, more, more”!

      Good luck!

  4. Posted February 3, 2013 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful reflection of business and friendships and when the two may miss the mark. Even though you’re a “tough cookie” it still hurts, and it’s great that it does, because then you reflect some more. I think Iain has it right – it will probably happen again, but having been so reflective (with both heart and head), you are likely to notice more of the warning signs, or be a bit more protective of yourself. Thanks for being real and letting us know that we are not alone in our own similar encounters!

    • Megan Barrow
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Marg for your kind words.

      If me being “heart on sleeve” in my experiences and lessons of life helps others, then I’m pretty happy.

      Thanks for posting your brilliant and timely blog on “change” that complements my experience so beautifully. Highly recommend the read: http://margaretlambert.com/change/

  5. Posted February 4, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Great article Megan. Honest, real and valuable – it’s so very important that strong boundaries are in place for these types of relationships, and I also find that continual check-in conversations of the orginal boundaries are important as well.

    • Megan Barrow
      Posted February 4, 2013 at 12:42 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Deb!

      Yes, boundaries are vital, especially when your innate value is to give, give, give.

      I’ve learnt a valuable lesson in how I value my business worth, but I will still enjoy being a goodwill ambassador for businesses who value my clientele.

      I’m so glad the article is resonating. The lessons I learnt as an unwanted and undervalued paying client will follow when emotions settle 🙂

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