How to lose customers and not even know it

Here’s a question about losing customers and not even know about it.

Let start by giving you an example from my day to day life as a customer.
A while ago, I bought a new car. I had to travel to the car dealer – a two hour drive trip. The car was great and under-priced for what it was, so the trip was totally worth it.
There was a problem though. I couldn’t get the the second set of keys coded for my car and because I had to go back the second day, the dealer offered to contact another dealer, closer to where I live to do the coding for me. All great.
I contacted the local dealer, set up an appointment and showed up for the job. It would have been a quick 15 minutes job to code the new pair of keys, but after the dealer kept me around for half an hour, I was told their machine they use for coding is not working at the moment. Then, they told me they will contact me whenever the machine starts working again.

They never did contact me. They must have lost my phone number, or the some note sat forgotten in some notebook somewhere. In the end, I had to contact another dealer.

What is clear in all this is that they’ve lost me as a customer. This might have been a small, low value job they had to do for me, but they have failed. They have failed because they haven’t followed up on a lead. They have lost me because I cannot trust them with bigger, higher value jobs given they have failed with low value jobs. In the end, I’ve become someone else’s customer. The irony of all this is that they don’t even know it.

The moral of the story is clear: follow up always, be organized, make sure you’re on top of your customer data. Otherwise you will be losing customers and you won’t even know why.