It is not uncommon to hear someone talking about a competing carrier stealing their customer. The question always comes to my mind, “Did they steal your customer or did you let them go?” Obviously, the new carrier of choice was able to offer something of value to your customer which enticed them to leave.
Here are questions you must constantly ask yourself in regards to keeping a customer long-term:
1. Are you running as efficient operation as possible?
2. Are you fulfilling your obligations to your customer?
3. Are your current offerings solving the needs of your customer?
4. Are your customer’s needs changing?
5. Is your pricing in line with the level of service you are offering?
6. Is your customer needing the level of service you are providing?
On occasion, I have lost a customer to a carrier who’s claim to fame was beating my price. Whenever I lost a customer due to price, I first had to determine if I wanted to keep them as a customer. Many times I had the very same customer call me back when the new carrier did not live up to their expectations. This is a fine line to know when to renegotiate or to simply wait to see if the new carrier will live up to your customer's expectations. On many occasions, I have had the customer come back to me after finding out they got exactly what they paid for with the new carrier. In many of these occasions, this has also led me to renegotiate a freight rate that was higher than when they left me for the cheaper carrier.
In the end, it is like playing poker you have to know when to hold your cards or when to walk away.