The average small business, according to some experts, will lose half of its customers within three years. Therefore, it is incumbent upon every business owner or leader to ask, “Are you doing everything you can to lose customers?” Most business leaders prefer to turn around the question and ask, “Are we doing everything we can to keep customers?” Although you are likely to be more comfortable asking the latter question, it might be the former that gets the attention of your team.
What does it take to lose customers? Here is a list of some of the things commonly cited by customers when surveyed:
- Being inconsistent.
- Being out of contact for more than 30 days.
- Failing to build a relationship of trust.
- Ignoring what customers say about you.
- Ignoring what customers say to you.
- Failing to ask what they want, need, and value.
- Failing to understand what triggers a purchase.
- Failing to monitor and influence customer sentiment.
- Failure to thank customers.
- Failure to follow up with customers after a purchase to assess satisfaction and solve problems.
- Failure to encourage loyalty and referrals, and to thank them for both.
- Failure to ensure relevance to the customer beyond a single purchase.
Today’s customer, whether your firm sells B2B or B2C, has higher expectations of firms than did the customer of the last decade. Customers no longer want to be anonymous. Today, customers demand relationships that value them and cater to their needs and desires. These customers understand data and know that you are (or should be) gathering a large amount of information and insight into their lives, their purchase history, and their needs and expectations. They expect you to use that data responsibly and in a way that enables you to go to them with the right product at the right time. Furthermore, they expect that you will value and reward their loyalty with offers, discounts or free upgrades.
In short, today’s customer demands that the firms with whom they do business know them, understand them, value them, and earn their business and loyalty. The common theme in the twelve ways to lose a customer is taking humanness out of the equation. Customers are no longer anonymous, and they know it. Whether you think of your firm as B2B or B2C, you are still dealing with a human being who wants to be known and valued.
If, like most business owners and leaders, you want to win and keep customers, the list of factors above can help you succeed. If you need help building the processes, procedures and controls you need to win today’s customers and keep them for life, call us. We can help.