How to: Lose a Loyal Client / Brand Advocate (Part 2)

Wow, I have certainly exhaled after my catharsis in How to Lose a Brand Advocate (Part 1) and, on reflection, it is a Blog that highlights for business owners how you can make a customer feel who has invested their loyalty and trust with you.

Why does being by a business advocate cut so deep? Because I truly love being one. Maybe it’s because I spent much of my formative career in the frontline of business where I was often in the line of fire as “shoot the messenger” and no matter how hard I tried or how far beyond my call of duties I went, I very rarely got any formal kudos.

But part of being a brand advocate is also selfish. I hope that if I shout from the rooftops that a business is amazing, then not only will I help start a tribe of followers and customers, but (their) industry will have to change long-term to keep up with a change of awesomeness. Therefore, I love to pay-it-forward to the people and businesses that are awesome… But, even this Leo-cliched loyal person has to abandon ship if Im not being treated well. Usually I leave after much effort of trying to ignore the mistreatment, but eventually I have to face the facts that my loyalty is not warranted.

So if you have too many unwanted clients, here’s my Top 8 Tips for businesses on How to lose a Loyal Brand Advocate:

1. Don’t deliver on your promises
I’m pretty nice, so having to ask for something promised within my payment for your service is ok, but three or four times and you’ll lose me.

2. Tell me I’m not your ideal client
No emphasis on the word “but” at the end of this sentence can ease my mind.

3. Don’t listen
I understand the client isn’t always right, but sometimes we do have valid points or just want to help.

4. Complain to me
Now, I’m happy to listen and lend a supportive ear to business owners, but you’ll lose me as your customer if you continually tell me your life is harder than mine.

5. Focus on the dollars
Your goal is and should be to make money and I am happy to pay extra for quality, but if you plan to change your pricing beyond a reasonable level without any increase in service consistency, I’m going to start second-guessing my loyalty.

6. Take me for granted
Don’t show me that you value other customers more than me – pick and choose who you more consciously deliver your overall brand promise to at your peril.

7. No reward or acknowledgement
Now this won’t necessarily have me leaving, but rewarding me for my level of customer loyalty and publicly acknowledging me with “thanks” goes a long way to helping me remain loyal.

8. Throw your goodwill back at me
If you decide to offer beyond-your-service, that’s gorgeous and I will be grateful, but there’s only so many times I can say thank you.


I’m sure the above tips will seem very obvious and comical to a savvy business owner, but it’s easy to slip into our human emotions, especially during tough business times.  I guess it’s a matter of working out the value of keeping your clients versus getting new or focusing on the “better” ones.

Onto the positives of brand advocates next time with some amazing businesses who truly know how to keep me shouting from the Social Media rooftops about their products. But in the meantime, I’d love to know your thoughts on my above tips and how a business has lost you as their customer.

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  1. Posted February 12, 2013 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    A pretty concise account of what business owners should be reflecting on! In times of financial hardship especially, when the dollars are harder to come by, often the common sense of good business goes out the window as business owners try to ‘pack it in’ tighter. Thanks for being up-front with this!

    • Megan Barrow
      Posted February 12, 2013 at 4:47 am | Permalink

      I guess the message is pretty blunt, isn’t it!? But, as a marketer, the message needs to be (blunt) as no marketing message can assist a business who doesn’t want to look after customers and deliver on their brand’s promise – let alone not look after their brand advocates.

      Thanks for your thoughts and support Marg.

  2. Posted February 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Sock it to em baby! Nothing like a slap in the face and a kick in the teeth to remind us all about how not to behave.
    Redefining relationships both personal and professional needs clarity and boundaries – and this my dear, is what I believe you have succinctly captured here.

    • Megan Barrow
      Posted February 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Bron!

      Funny how the “don’ts” can resonate a bit more than the “do’s”. I hope this article is a reminder to business owners that they always walk a fine line of keeping vs losing their customers.

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