5 Ways to Identify Unhappy IT ClientsLosing an IT contract isn’t fun. We’ve all been there. That’s why I’ve been working with Gordon Tan from R&G Technologies and Client Heartbeat, to come up with five actionable ways to quickly identify unhappy customers that are “at risk” of leaving.

“There’s nothing worse than bringing on a new contract and then finding out your long-standing client worth $100K/year has decided to cancel,” says Gordon Tan, Director of R&G Technologies.

After speaking to a number of IT business owners, we’ve come up with these five key indicators that can help you see if a client might be “at risk” of leaving you.  

1. Asking for Passwords and Credentials

This first flag is if your client starts asking for things like passwords, domain credentials, network diagrams and what not. These are all early warning signs. Be careful!

2. Stops Wanting to Meet with You

If your client stops wanting to meet with you, that’s a red flag. In a good business relationship, your client will want to invest time in getting together for a meeting. If he or she stops doing that, it’s what Gordon calls “Radio-Silence” and means the client is at a point where they don’t care anymore. This is a dangerous place because you have lost their interest and they have one foot out the door.

3. Goes Quiet About Recurring Problems

Similar to above, if you’ve had a lot of ongoing problems and then suddenly your client stops logging or complaining about the problems, which you’re still aware are happening, that’s a pretty serious red flag that your client is at risk. This typically plays out with the key decision maker just having enough and instructing his or her staff to not worry about logging any more tickets about the problem. By this point, your client is also exploring other solutions.

4. Stops Responding to Feedback and Doesn’t Reply to E-mails

Our business, Client Heartbeat is all about surveys so we do a lot of research on this warning sign. If a client stops responding to your surveys and doesn’t reply to emails, that’s a red flag. This type of non-response shows that they are no longer as engaged with your organization, and they don’t have the time for you anymore.

5. Gives You Below Average Satisfaction Scores on Your Customer Surveys

I recommend all IT businesses measure customer satisfaction by using an online survey tool. By doing this, you can leverage key indicators that can help you identify “at risk” clients.

Here are three key indicators that can help:

  • Customer satisfaction scores are below average. Below average customer satisfaction scores are an alarm bell. Once your clients have completed your customer survey, use a tool like Microsoft Excel to crunch the data into a spreadsheet.

  • Customer satisfaction scores have dropped greater than the industry average over a given period. This indicator takes a little more work but is one that is very popular with our clients. It involves tracking customer satisfaction scores from one survey period to the next.

  • Customer has indicated they would not feel comfortable recommending you to colleagues and friends. This is the last key indicator as to whether a client is “at risk”. You could add a question like this to your customer survey: 

Track Client Satisfaction to Quickly Identify Unhappy IT Clients

Tracking client satisfaction can help IT businesses proactively identify unhappy clients, and put in place customer retention strategies to regain trust and keep their business.

Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong. Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways

 Once you’ve identified your “at risk” clients, it’s important to focus on increasing customer satisfaction and strengthening your customer relationship.

To learn how to increase customer satisfaction, read my eBook, “The Secrets to High Customer Satisfaction.”

In this eBook you’ll learn actionable strategies and get real insight from IT industry experts, including Joshua Feinberg, Stuart Selbst, Gordon Tan and Richard Tubb.


Have you lost an IT contract? Were there warning signs that these IT clients were “at risk”? Share your experiences in the section for Comments below.


Ross Beard works for Client Heartbeat, a simple client feedback tool that surveys your clients, measures satisfaction and identifies clients that are “at risk” of leaving. He helps businesses improve client satisfaction, implement client retention programs, and build “sticky” client loyalty.


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