For most businesses it takes considerable time, money, and hard work to win new customers. Yet I find some business owners literally throwing customers away by not coming to grips with why the business is losing customers in the first place.
A little more attention to why businesses lose customers and what you can do to retain them would surely create less pressure to find new customers—and could potentially revolutionise your small business.
The cardinal sin of business: Losing customers – and advertising for new ones!
For any business, customers are the lifeblood. The more you have, the more they purchase, and the greater your revenue (and hopefully profit).
Not only will a happy customer shop with you more frequently and spend more; they will tell their friends and family about you, enabling you to win new customers the easy way!
Yet small businesses spend countless millions of dollars every year on advertising and other marketing – only to end up losing customers needlessly.
Spending on advertising is particularly costly and—unless the product and service you deliver meets or exceeds the expectations of your customers—it becomes even more expensive. as you won’t hold on to the new customers you win.
It is particularly sinful in terms of business if you spend a fortune on advertising and fail to deliver exceptional customer service.
Why businesses lose customers
Customers disappointed with the overall purchase experience will reduce their future business with you and/or purchase from your competitor.
Some of the top reasons why businesses lose customers include:
- Overpromising and underdelivering
- Supplying the wrong product
- Keeping customers waiting for service
- Not giving them your undivided attention – especially in retail situations
- Failure to deliver on time
- Failure to communicate and uncover issues with your customer prior to them making a complaint
- Being rude to customers
The problem is that, for most businesses, it’s a one-shot deal. You only get one chance to impress a customer or that’s it— they are out the door, never to return. Second chances are rare.
Remember, if you have spent money on advertising to get a customer into your store or to use your service, you owe it to your business and your customers to provide an exceptional user experience and product or service delivery. Only then can you grow your business.
How NOT to lose customers from your business
You create customer expectations through your advertising. Those expectations are either confirmed or destroyed by their experience when purchasing from you.
The only sure way not to lose customers from your business and—instead, turn them into advocates or referrers—is to provide absolutely superb service.
Your customers need to feel that you really care about them and that your goal in business is to delight them with the way you look after them. Most businesses fall short of this ideal, but it is an objective well worth striving to deliver.
Remember that you are seeking those word-of-mouth referrals—which cost nothing—rather than huge advertising and marketing costs. It’s the best means of creating new customers. However, a customer who is merely satisfied will not become an advocate for your business. A customer who you have delighted and whose expectations you have exceeded will become your advocate!
So ask yourself, why your business is losing customers? What can you do to reverse this trend? When customers deal with your business, what is their experience like? Are they satisfied or delighted? Or, are they frustrated and disappointed?
Take a look at other businesses that you deal with. What frustrates you about dealing with them? Is this same frustration something your customers experience when they deal with you? If it is, then make it a priority to do something about it.
After all, the profitability of your business may depend on retaining and increasing the number of your best existing customers.
Talk to us about how NOT to lose customers in your business.