It amazes me how a company can spend so much money on attracting new customers and spend so little effort, time, or money on keeping them. But this goes on everyday … even at my dry cleaners.

I had been using the same dry cleaners for 16 years. They are not the lowest priced cleaners in the area, but they did consistent work and they were convenient. The owner once told me that I was one of the top customers. This wasn't a surprise; I took just about everything there — my suits, dress slacks, shirts, casual slacks, and sport shirts.

Every once in a while, they goofed. It was never anything real big, so I ignored the problems. Of course I would mention what went wrong, and the person behind the counter would acknowledge the mistakes. That's were the situations would end.

An example of these problems is the fact that twice they used black permanent markers to write my name on the bottom of two new white shirts and then, before the ink dried, threw the shirts into the laundry bag with the rest of my clothes. The results were small black marks on other parts of my shirts. I told them about this and they apologized. That's it -- no coupon, no replacement cost, no nothing. I shouldn't complain now, however, because I never pushed the issue then.

Then one day, I picked up an order of 24 shirts. That's what I dropped off, and that's what I paid for. When hanging them up in my closet I spotted an unfamiliar shirt. Back I went with the shirt and explained that they gave me someone else's shirt (obvious since it was not my size), and asked how I would get the shirt I was missing. "We'll find it," I was told.

Every time I went in, I asked about the progress of the search for my lost shirt. No one ever had an answer. After almost six months of this, I spoke to the owner. She assured me that she would look into it and call me that afternoon. I gave her my cell number and explained that if they couldn't find the shirt, all I wanted was a percentage of the original value of the shirt since it was not brand new. She agreed that that was fair.

I never received the call, but that really didn't surprise me. What did is the fact that they have never contacted me to determine why I no longer do business there. I was one of their best customers. I was an easy customer (until they screwed up). I'm not even sure they realize that they no longer have the revenue I generated for them. But I am certain that they have no idea how many times I have told friends and neighbors about how they do not stand behind their work.

What puzzles me most (and it really shouldn't) is that they were willing to lose me as a customer all because they wouldn't reimburse me for a portion of a shirt they misplaced.

Author's Bio: 

As a speaker, author and coach, Peter George helps self-employed professionals achieve the success they've been striving for. His highly-acclaimed More Clients More Profits Workbook includes contributions from van Misner, Bob Burg, Susan Roane, Scott Ginsberg & others. Want to start attracting more clients right away? Claim your free copy of 101 Ways to Attract More Clients at =>