Businessolver Blog

3 Lessons Learned from Losing a Client

3 Lessons Learned from Losing a Client
Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 by Diego Gonzalez

180207_OneThing_BlogWelcome to “The One Thing,” a Businessolver blog series that takes a closer look at our approach to client service and how we embody the key pillars of our business: Perform, Engage, Innovate, and Give Back. 


A major part of our mission is to delight our clients, and Solvers recommit each day to doing so. “The One Thing” shares insights from Solvers on how they stay true to the mission and motivated to bring it to life in their daily work.

“If you’d have been on our account from the onset, we probably wouldn’t be leaving.”

I admit, hearing it stroked my ego, but it also felt like a swift, Clydesdale kick to the gut.

My team and I had rolled up our sleeves and dug deep to get this client to a state of delight. We were focused; we were committed. Yet, we still failed them. While I was glad we hadn’t caused the original unhappiness, at the end of the day Businessolver had failed to deliver on our brand.  And that felt about as great as the consequences that come from binge eating a tub of raw cookie dough and then riding the Tilt-A-Whirl.

When they explicitly told me we could have saved the account if we had acted earlier, that presented valuable feedback and offered an opportunity to reflect on our process and communication strategies. What lessons could be learned to prevent this from happening again? I took three lessons away from this experience that I now practice daily.  

  1. There’s no such thing as a difficult client. Our clients have immense responsibilities, and they care deeply about serving their employees. Unlike us, they also have other responsibilities. So, it’s completely reasonable for them to expect that we care as much as they do and that we’re able to track with them and turn on the same dime. Because of these expectations, it can be easy to label a client with unique needs as “difficult” and once you’ve done this, you’ve failed them.

When a client is labeled as such, a problem arises, it’s natural to lay the blame on them for being difficult rather than own the reality and deliver value in spite of any challenges. The ego loves to point the finger at others and never at itself. It’s impossible to empathize with people when you accept the stories you or others create about them, such as labeling them difficult.  

It’s important not to fall into this trap. There is no such thing as a difficult client, only clients with needs.

  1. Trust is key to success. Everything we do is built on trust. Clients choose Businessolver because they trust us to deliver great service and value and believe we’ll take care of their employees. This trust should never be taken lightly.

It’s important to recognize these are significant responsibilities and ones we should take pride delivering on. We’re not here to manage our clients, but rather to support and provide expert service to them. When you see your role this way, it puts a muzzle on the ego and allows you to be grateful for the opportunity. It demonstrates to your clients that you have their best interests in mind.

  1. Ownership is everything. Ownership is the secret sauce of success. It prevents you from feeling like the victim. It requires you to accept that you have the power to succeed, along with the responsibility for failure. If you’re the owner, when something doesn’t go as expected, you have to recognize you had a hand in it. Ownership drives action towards resolution faster. It strips the stories away and makes you face reality in all its glory. Own your successes and welcome them in as gifts and learn from them.

It’s not fun losing a client. It can keep you up at night. It might seem easier to come up with some excuses for why something went south and move on. Luckily, failures are few and far between, and that’s why it would be inconceivable to let that failure go to waste.  Nobody enjoys failure, but I’ve learned to embrace mine, when it happens, for what it can teach me.

This is why I love working at Businessolver. We’re not perfect, and we don’t pretend to be. But we are committed to working hard at being better than we were yesterday. Those I admire have shown me that failure is nothing more than an opportunity to deliver on our promise.