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The "Dear John" Letter Your Client is About to Send

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By Mary Ann McLaughlin

“Dear John (insert your company name here),

We are terminating our contract with you….”

And so begins the “Dear John” letter of client relationships. Every now and then we need a reminder that our clients are not a company or a brand; they are a collection of individuals. They are people, just like you and me, who are held accountable to results in their role. People who are looking for a greater number of positive experiences than negative experiences in their relationships. People who choose to do business with us because we promised to help them get better outcomes


Unfortunately, the “Dear John” rate in many companies is alarming. Their clients are at risk and they don’t have a process to measure their client relationships. They don’t have the insights to take action to ensure their client relationships are strong and continually advancing. As a result, they are forced to sell more and more new clients just to avoid revenue decline.

Here are the 4 most common (yet completely avoidable) reasons that clients will leave you:

1.) You are Not Communicating Your Value

Remember the effort you put in to acquire the client? The sales calls, the personal investment of time, the presentations, the active listening to understand their challenges and create solutions to meet their needs and deliver better outcomes? The participation from your senior executives? Your client remembers; that is why they chose you. If you don’t have a plan to keep the communication relevant, consistent and focused on how you can help them grow, then you are at risk. And, you can bet that your competition is paying more attention to how they can provide your client a better solution than you are.

2.) Turnover

Whether it is your company turnover, or the client’s turnover, when people change, everything changes. If you don’t have a strategy to connect several members of your organization to several members of their organization, then it’s just a matter of time before everything changes.

3.) Misaligned Goals

Do you want to sell your client more of what they want to buy less of? Are you pushing lowest price, and they are looking for highest quality? Are you helping them achieve their goals or simply focused on your own revenue and profit goals? Is the relationship truly crafted to win together?

4.) Poor Service Delivery

It takes a special effort and teamwork to win a customer, but unfortunately, anyone in your organization can be the cause to lose one. If you are not delivering a frictionless customer experience on a regular basis, your client will reach the point of frustration and eventually take their business elsewhere. Think about the last company you decided to no longer do business with. Was it because of the product or service you were buying, or the experience you had a result? Mine was an airline. The planes were just fine, the routes and the pricing were similar to most of the others. They were a hub in my city. While there were a number of little things over time that didn’t go well, it was one person who sealed it my mind. She was a “customer service” rep.

You can avoid the Dear John letter with the right actions. Butler Street’s ClientFirst A.R.E ™ approach is designed to help you build strong and lasting relationships with your clients. We have a proprietary client risk analysis that measures the strength of your relationships and provides you with a system of reinforcing activities to ensure your organization aligns with each and every one of your clients and helps them achieve their goals. Additionally, we understand that the key to your client relationships are your people. We can help you build the infrastructure, provide the tools and training to allow your team to develop excellent client relationships. Please click CONTACT to learn more.

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