All companies say that every customer matters, but small business owners really mean it! The loss of even one important client can have serious implications for long-term sustainability and growth. Customers don’t always reveal why they’ve chosen to leave, however. What are they likely to say if they’re being up front about their decision to go?

They’ve had a problem with your tech.

Is your website cumbersome or outdated? Can your online payment system be glitchy? Do important communications get lost in cyberspace? If your competitors are getting it right in this department and you’re not, it won’t take long for a customer to jump ship.

 They’ve had a bad experience with customer service.

Sometimes it takes just one poor incident with someone on your staff to make a client look for someone else to do business with. The expectation for customer service is so high now, anything less than excellent isn’t tolerated

They’re concerned that your quality has gone down.

In your effort to expand or compete, are you trying to be all things to all people? If you’ve sold your client on the thing you do really well, but you aren’t doing it so well anymore, there’s no reason for them to stay.

They don’t view you as flexible.

Your customers’ situations or needs may change; can you adapt with them? Are you interested in helping them find solutions to their issues? If your process is too rigid, they make seek more creative ideas with other companies.

They don’t see the value of what you offer.

As a small business owner, it may not be possible to have the “lowest price in town” on your products or services. That’s okay. Most customers will understand that price doesn’t always reflect value. But if you haven’t convincingly shown them why it’s worth it to go with you, they’ll move on.

They don’t have a consistent experience.

From the salespeople they deal with to the branding of your company, clients want a known commodity. Too many changes or things that seem contradictory or confusing spell unprofessionalism – and that makes customers feel nervous about where they’re spending their money.

It’s often said that it’s much easier to keep a current customer than it is to find a new one. Take a good look at your business and see if any of these issues could be the culprit behind why a valued customer slipped away.

Susan Bryant is a writer and editor who enjoys working on diverse subject matter and collaborating on interesting projects. She can be contacted at