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You’re Losing Customers: Here Are 10 Reasons Why

Losing Customers Header
Losing Customers Header

Losing clients is frustrating.

It feels like a step back, and it’s easy to get discouraged.

But it’s something every SEO agency faces at some point. No agency experiences zero churn.

It’s fine, though. You just need to know why they’re leaving.

Understanding why clients leave is crucial for retaining and regaining them.

In this guide, we’ll explore the common reasons for losing customers and provide practical customer retention solutions to avoid these pitfalls.


10 Reasons Why Your Agency Is Losing Customers - FATJOE graphic

Poor Communication

Communication is key in every business relationship.

When it breaks down, it leads to misunderstandings and frustration, which increases the risk of clients walking away.

Clear and effective communication helps your clients feel involved and valued.

Common Mistakes

Infrequent Updates

Clients want to know how their campaigns are progressing. They might assume nothing is happening if they’re left in the dark.

Using Too Much Jargon

SEO is full of technical terms.

If you tell a small business owner, “We need to improve your site’s E-E-A-T by optimizing your YMYL pages,” you’re likely to be met with a confused look.

When clients don’t understand what you’re saying, they’re going to feel disconnected and frustrated.

Not Listening to Client Concerns

If clients feel their concerns are being ignored, it damages the relationship. They’ll be less satisfied with your service.


Schedule Regular Update Meetings

Set up regular meetings to discuss progress, challenges, and next steps. This keeps clients in the loop and reassures them that their campaign is being actively managed.

Simplify Your Language

Go beyond metrics and SEO acronyms. Break down complex SEO terms into understandable concepts and explain the “why” behind your strategy.

Make sure clients know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Actively Listen and Address Client Concerns

Acknowledge client concerns, provide timely responses, and take action when needed. This shows you value their input and are committed to their success.

Check out our guide for more expert client communication tips for SEO agencies.

Unrealistic Expectations

Managing client expectations is a crucial part of running a successful SEO agency.

Clients often come in with goals for top rankings and rapid improvements. Having ambitious goals is great.

However, unrealistic expectations only lead to disappointment when results don’t match up.

You need to be clear about what is achievable within their budget and timeframe.

Common Mistakes

Promising Rapid Results

SEO is a long-term strategy. It takes time to see a measurable impact on rankings and visibility. Promising quick wins can backfire and impact customer satisfaction.

Guaranteeing Top Rankings

No one can guarantee top rankings. Search engine algorithms change, and new competitors can enter the SERPs. Making promises you can’t keep sets you up for failure.


Set Realistic Timelines and Goals

Explain the typical timeline for SEO results and set achievable milestones. While you might be able to achieve some quick wins, it usually takes several months to achieve significant results.

Educate Clients About the SEO Process

Help your clients understand how SEO works. Explain the factors that influence search engine rankings and how your strategy will help them achieve their goals over time.

Strong Onboarding Process

Use the onboarding process to walk clients through the SEO roadmap. Highlighting key milestones and expected timelines. This helps manage expectations from the get-go.

Lack of Visible Results

You might be making significant progress behind the scenes. But clients want visible results.

They want to see tangible outcomes.

If they don’t, they might question the value of your services when your invoice lands on their desk.

Common Mistakes

Not Tracking Progress

Without clear metrics and tracking, it’s hard to show clients the improvements being made. Clients need concrete data to understand the progress of their campaigns.

Focusing Only On Long-Term Goals

SEO is a long-term strategy. And it’s important to have long-term goals. However, you also need short-term wins to show that the strategy is working.


Provide Detailed Reports

Create comprehensive reports that highlight key metrics that matter to your clients.

In a recent survey, conversions and leads were ranked as the two metrics that agency clients care most about:

What metrics clients care about graph

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For SEO reports, you’ll also want to include traffic growth and keyword rankings.

Make sure your reports are easy to understand. Include charts and graphics so clients can easily understand the progress being made.

Highlight Quick Wins

Focus on achieving some quick SEO wins to prove your value. That could be fixing indexing issues, refreshing existing content, or targeting some low-hanging fruit keywords.

These small wins can reassure clients that the strategy is working.

Set Clear Benchmarks

Clear benchmarks help to manage client expectations. They create a framework for measuring success over time.

Poor Customer Service

The experience you provide clients is just as important as the results you achieve.

Providing excellent customer service can help you build strong, trusting relationships.

Maintaining these relationships is crucial for the growth of your agency. A recent study found that the average company generates 65% of revenue from existing customers.

Common Mistakes

Slow Response Times

Clients expect a quick response when they reach out with questions and concerns. A slow response can make them feel unimportant and frustrated. And that’s going to impact customer loyalty.

Being Unavailable for Client Meetings

Regular check-ins are crucial for maintaining a strong client relationship. If you’re consistently unavailable, clients will feel neglected.

Lack of Personalized Attention

Every client is unique. They have different preferences, needs, and goals. Treating every client the same will lead to dissatisfaction.


Client Communication Guidelines

Establish clear guidelines for responding to client inquiries. Aim to respond within 24 hours or sooner, if possible. This shows that you value your client’s time and concerns.

Personalize Your Approach

Tailor your strategies to meet each client’s specific needs and goals. Offer customized solutions rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. This will help your new customers and existing clients feel valued.

According to a recent survey, the majority of clients consider an agency being aligned with their objectives as extremely important:

Agency qualities survey

Be Proactive

Don’t wait for clients to reach out with issues. Be proactive in identifying potential problems and offering solutions.

Failure to Innovate

You only need to look at the impact of recent algorithm updates to see how quickly SEO can evolve.

What worked a year ago might not work today.

Clients expect their SEO agency to stay ahead of the curve and continuously improve their strategies. In a recent survey, clients ranked innovativeness as one of the most desired agency attributes:

Desirable attributes survey

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If your agency fails to innovate, clients might feel you’re not providing them with the best possible service. That could lead them to look elsewhere.

Common Mistakes

Sticking to Outdated Strategies

Let’s be honest. You probably deserve to lose your clients if you’re still doing keyword stuffing and relying on PBN links. Using outdated tactics that are no longer effective can hurt your clients’ SEO performance.

Ignoring New SEO Tools and Technologies

Failing to adopt the latest tools and technologies can put you behind your competitors. Without the best tools, you might miss opportunities to improve SEO performance.

Lack of Creativity in Campaigns

Repeating the same tactics without trying anything new can make your services seem stale and ineffective. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches that could offer a competitive edge.


Stay Updated With Industry Trends

You need to keep up with the latest changes in SEO. Read industry blogs, attend conferences, and follow SEO mentors.

Experiment With New Strategies

Make testing part of your strategy. Conduct small-scale tests to see how new strategies perform before rolling them out on a larger scale. This allows you to innovate without risking your clients’ entire campaigns.

Adopt the Latest Tools and Technologies

Invest in tools that can provide better insights and more efficient workflows. These tools can help you achieve better results. And that’s essential for a good customer relationship.

Let your clients know about the tools you’re using and how they can benefit their campaigns.

High Employee Turnover at Your Agency

Clients don’t want to see a constant turnover of new faces handling their accounts.

High employee turnover can impact the quality of service your agency provides. It can disrupt client projects and lead to inconsistent performance.

Keeping hold of talent is vital to agency growth. According to a recent survey, 55% of agencies see attracting and retaining top talent as their number 1 priority over the next 2-3 years:

Agency strategic impact survey

Common Mistakes

Poor Work Environment

If your agency doesn’t provide a positive work environment, employees are more likely to leave. It can lead to low morale, decreased productivity, and high turnover rates.

Lack of Career Progression

Your employees want to see a clear path for growth at your agency. If they are stuck doing the same thing every day with no opportunities to advance, they might look to move on.

Inadequate Training and Development

Your team members can’t improve their skillset without access to training and development programs. That can lead to them feeling unprepared and undervalued.


Foster a Positive Work Culture

Create a work environment where employees feel valued and respected. Set clear expectations, provide constructive feedback, and recognize achievements.

Offer Career Development Opportunities

Discuss career goals with your team members and provide clear progression paths. Reward your team with promotions and raises based on performance.

Improve Work-Life Balance

A healthy work-life balance is key to team morale. You don’t want your employees to feel overworked and burnt out.

Remote working and flexible working hours can help here. You can also look to outsource SEO tasks that take too much time or are outside your core agency capabilities.

Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Develop comprehensive SOPs for all key processes within your agency. SOPs help ensure consistent work quality and make it easier for new employees to get up to speed quickly.

This helps maintain continuity in client projects even if there is staff turnover.

Pricing Issues

If clients feel they’re not getting value for money, they will start looking for other options.

In a recent survey, agency clients ranked delivering value for money as the third most important agency behavior:

Ideal agency behaviour survey

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Transparent and fair pricing helps build trust and enhances client satisfaction.

Common Mistakes

Overpricing Services

If clients feel that your services are too expensive compared to the results they’re getting, they might decide to take their business elsewhere.

Lack of Transparent Pricing

Hidden fees or complicated pricing structures can cause frustration and mistrust. Clients want to know exactly what they are paying for and why.


Base SEO Pricing on the Value You Offer

Your clients could find an SEO package for a few hundred dollars per month. But they’re unlikely to achieve any meaningful results.

Make sure your pricing reflects the value provided. Communicate the benefits and results clients can expect from your services.

Be Transparent About Your Pricing Model

Provide a clear breakdown of your pricing structure. Make sure clients know exactly what to expect on their invoices. This transparency prevents misunderstandings and can help you retain customers.

Offer Tiered Pricing Options

Create pricing tiers that cater to customers with different budgets and needs. A local plumbing business will have very different needs from those of a large e-commerce store.

Let your clients choose a package that fits their budget and provides the services they require.

Attracting the Wrong Type of Customer

Some businesses are not a good fit for your services. Attracting these clients will only frustrate them and your agency.

You might think that turning away clients limits growth, but the opposite is true. By focusing on attracting the right type of clients, your agency can become more appealing.

In a recent survey, over 80% of agencies said specializing in a specific industry had positively impacted their client acquisition rate:

Agency specialization graph

Common Mistakes

Accepting Clients Without Proper Vetting

Taking on a client without assessing if they are a good fit for your services is never a good idea. It can lead to mismatched expectations and dissatisfaction.

Overlooking Red Flags During Initial Consultations

Ignoring signs that a potential client might be difficult to work with or has unrealistic expectations can result in future headaches.


Establish a Thorough Vetting Process

Develop a clear process for evaluating potential clients. This should include assessing their business goals, understanding their expectations, and determining if your services align with their needs.

Be honest if you feel you’re not the right fit for them.

Clearly Define Your Ideal Client

Identify the characteristics of clients most likely to benefit from your services. This should include their industry, business size, budget, and specific SEO needs.

These are the clients you can build strong, long-term relationships with.

Use Marketing to Attract the Right Clients

Make sure your website, content, and social media clearly outline what you offer and who you can help. This helps you attract clients who are looking for exactly what you provide.

Ignoring Feedback

Client feedback can be super useful for your agency. It helps you understand the client’s needs and expectations. And it offers insights into how you can improve the customer experience you provide.

Common Mistakes

Dismissing Negative Feedback

It’s always difficult to hear negative feedback from unhappy customers. However, ignoring negative customer feedback only makes things worse. It makes your clients feel unappreciated.

Failing to Act on Suggestions

Collecting feedback is pointless if you don’t use it to make improvements. Clients want to see that their input leads to positive changes.


Actively Seek Feedback

Don’t wait for clients to offer feedback. Actively ask for their opinions through regular check-ins and performance reviews. This shows that you are proactive and care about their experience.

Act on Feedback

Use the feedback you receive to make changes. If a client suggests an improvement, consider how you can implement it. That could involve changing their SEO strategy or your agency workflows.

Follow Up

After making changes, follow up with clients to see if the improvements meet their expectations. This shows you’re committed to delivering a better client experience.

No Clear Agency Value Proposition

A clear value proposition is crucial for every SEO agency. It tells clients why they should choose your agency and, more importantly, why they should continue partnering with you.

Without a strong value proposition, clients might question their ongoing investment in your services.

Common Mistakes

Vague Value Statements

Saying that you offer “great SEO services” isn’t enough. Generic statements like this don’t highlight your unique strengths. They don’t answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

Overlooking What Makes You Unique

If you can’t communicate what makes your agency different, your client will struggle to understand the unique value you provide. That’s bad news.

When another agency comes up with a better SEO proposal, your client will likely drop you.


Identify Your Unique Strengths

Take a look at what your agency does best. This could be your expertise in a specific industry, exceptional customer service, or proven results. Identify what sets you apart.

Understand Your Target Audience

Tailor your value proposition to address the specific pain points of your ideal client. This shows potential clients that you understand their needs and can deliver solutions that matter to them.

Be Clear and Specific

Your value proposition should be specific. For example, “We help ecommerce businesses increase their organic traffic through product page optimization, advanced keyword research, and strategic link building. Our approach results in a 30% boost in sales for our clients.”

How To Retain More Agency Clients

Delivering great results is key to agency growth. But you need to do more than that to keep your customers happy.

You need to understand why clients leave and be proactive in addressing those issues.

That’s how you reduce churn and build long-term, successful customer relationships.

Wherever possible get feedback, contact lost clients, do anything you can to find out why they’re leaving and then you can move onto how to win them back. 

Daniel Trick
Daniel Trick

Head of Content

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