How Startups Can Ruin Their Customer Relationships

ruin customer relationships

Many startups go through growing pains, but customer relationships shouldn’t suffer from a company’s internal stress and adjustments. Establishing a loyal client base and solid brand reputation should be the highest priority for a startup, since those customers will sustain it as it moves into various levels of growth.

A firm can avoid a number of common pitfalls by taking precautions, watching analytics, and improving its operational systems.

Startups Mistakes That Can Ruin Customer Relationships

1. Miscommunication

Both internal and front-of-house miscommunications can break customer relationships. Leadership should be transparent with their teams, and impart accurate product and service information so employees can represent the brand effectively. Inaccurate retail information can lead to a negative purchasing experience.

In order to combat issues like these, make sure all website and social media communications are clear and candid. Include a Frequently Asked Questions page to provide answers for clients who need additional assistance. Your company may also wish to hire trainers and HR professionals to craft training programs, guidelines, and workflows for employees.

2. Inaccurate Records

There’s nothing more embarrassing than calling an important client and learning that your company has the wrong phone number on file. This can lead to unacceptable business delays in communication, which will have a negative impact your company’s pipeline.

Customer records should include precise information and relevant notes, such as purchasing trends, product preferences, and marketing campaigns.

Even if you believe a customer’s records are accurate, take the time to update them. You may learn that a customer has recently changed his or her address, which is crucial information if you are shipping a product to that person or firm. You can take a few moments during each phone call, email interaction, and in-person meeting to verify records and customer information.

3. Lack of Planning

A startup cannot adjust to its opportunities and success if the company is not measuring efforts and results. Analytics can provide invaluable metrics with regard to web, staff, and product performance. Marketing professionals, project managers, and leadership teams can get ready for upcoming product launches, industry conventions, and other substantive events by using business analytic software.

4. Delayed Responses

Startups can lose revenue if they do not dedicate enough staff to customer service needs. Clients who encounter a busy dial signal on the phone, automated email response, or closed door may decide to take their business elsewhere.

If your company is struggling to respond promptly to inbound queries, consider hiring an IT helpdesk and customer service specialists. If clients email, call, or drops in with a question, do your best to connect them with the best resource to fit their needs.

5. Disorganization

Once a startup gains enough of a following, it will need to purchase CRM software to manage contacts, develop pipeline, and close sales. Companies that neglect to invest in these solutions will soon run into organizational problems as data needs overwhelm them.

Excel spreadsheets can do only so much before they become bogged down with convoluted and unnecessary information. A CRM solution empowers teams to collaborate on client accounts, build invoices, and establish sales.

Another way for companies to avoid disorder is to go paperless. Explore servers, cloud solutions, and offsite backups to keep documents safe and secure. Protect CRM databases and other sensitive information by backing data up regularly. IT departments may add another level of security by performing routine technology maintenance, rotating passwords, and repairing technology.

Startups rely on word-of-mouth, online reviews, and client perception to grow their business. These relationships may be placed in jeopardy if your organization suffers from miscommunication, disorganization, or poor planning.

Avoid these stressful situations by investing in staff resources and technologies that fulfill startup needs.

Frustrated Photo via Shutterstock


Drew Hendricks Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He writes for many major publications such as National Geographic, Technorati and The Huffington Post.

7 Reactions
  1. Miscommunication usually occurs when there is a lack of transparency, customer support and user feedback accessibility. Without addressing their concerns, there is nothing accomplished but unresolved issues. This also affects record accuracy, in fact. Anyway, I agree with you. If your customer relationship are poorly constructed, you should resort to hiring specialists and invest in CRM software who are expert on this field.

  2. Drew,

    Surprisingly, miscommunication is probably the single most destructive factor in any kind of relationship – personal or business.

    One single thing business owner can do to fix it is by having a dedicated customer relation staff who is one-click or one-call away to help facilitate communication and settle mishaps and conflicts.

    My 2 cents.

  3. Sam Gill @ Digital Spikes

    Good post Drew. Good insight on how things can ruin your startup. Planning and communication always plays a major role in success of any business startup. Your mistakes should not affect the customers as customer is your king

  4. Customer service is often how a startup can differentiate itself from existing competitors, so botching this can be a killer. Great tips!

  5. Great advice, customer service is important no matter how long your business has been around.

  6. The dirty little trap that is hard to avoid in a startup is that feeling of urgency when you’re working on developing the product. You feel like you’re too busy for the customer. Nevertheless, you always have to remember that you’re in this for the customer; that’s your revenue stream. Just taking a few minutes aside each day to provide useful feedback and answers to customers will make all the difference, especially when prompt, concise, friendly, and organized.

  7. I think startups can ruin relationships if they set expectations too high. It is better to get realistic to prevent people from being disappointed along the way.