Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Ten ways to lose customers (and better ways to keep them)

Customer service posters
Customer feedback posters
Updated October 2014

Ten Ways to Lose Customers may not sound like a guide you want to follow but, as this article will reveal, sometimes we need to look at what we're doing wrong to put it right or make it better.

So here are ten things you might be doing wrong.

1. Not listening to your customers
Your customers can be full of useful information. For one thing, they usually know what they want and when they want it. For another, they often make valid suggestions that could help you to improve what you do.

I'm not saying that you should immediately implement every suggestion that every customer makes. However, if there is a concensus between several customers that something would be beneficial, or that something isn't working, it might be worth taking those thoughts into consideration.

2. Having a bad attitude
If members of your staff are rude, unwilling or unhelpful they could be losing you customers.

Make sure staff have the training and flexibility to deal with most situations. For example, if they are constantly having to refer simple matters to a person in authority this may be causing them frustration that they are then taking out on the customer.

3. Promising things you can't deliver
Empty promises let customers down – sometimes with devastating results. A customer who has been let down is unlikely to return, but very likely to complain to all their colleagues or friends.

If a customer is asking for the impossible it is better to be honest and let them go elsewhere than to make a promise you can't fulfil.

4. Not dealing with complaints properly
It takes time and energy for a customer to make a complaint so, if they feel something is worth complaining about, it's worth your time to acknowledge it and look into it.

Remember, the customer could have said nothing and simply decided not to deal with you again. If they complain they are giving you an opportunity to put things right.

Making an apology, offering a goodwill gesture, or using the complaint to make a positive change in your organisation might just be enough to keep the customer.

5. Focusing on what you can't do
If a customer won't listen to reason, or is asking for the impossible, repeatedly telling them what you can't do will only cause frustration for you both.

Be solutions-driven and offer feasible alternatives or compromises that you can reasonably deliver.

6. Changing the quality of your product/service
Customers rely on consistent quality, convenience and reliability. It is not always wise, therefore, to make changes that put your own needs before those of your customers. For example using cheaper raw materials to produce your product, shortening your opening hours or changing your equipment.
Remember, some customers would be more amenable to an increase in price than a reduction in quality.

7. Taking customers for granted
It costs around six times as much to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one – however demanding they might be.

Be good to your existing customers – do what you can to reward their loyalty and don't reserve all your best offers for new customers.

8. Not answering the phone
It sounds ridiculous to say it but many companies are still losing business by not answering the phone promptly enough or, in some cases, not answering it at all. Around 30% of first time callers will never call back if their call is not answered.

Make sure your staff are trained to answer the phone within five rings, take messages if the person required is unavailable and be helpful and polite to people who come through to the wrong number.

9. Making excuses
How many times have you heard these lines?

"It's not our policy."
"I'm new."
"We're short-staffed."
"You've come through to the wrong department."
"I was on holiday."
"My computer is down."

These are some of the most commonly used excuses people hear during telephone conversations with companies every day – and they're just not helpful.

Be solutions-driven. If it's not your policy, offer an alternative. If a call has come through to the wrong department, put it through to the right one. Offer to call the customer back if you need to refer their matter to someone else or if your computer is down.

10. Not offering a competitive service
Just because you are selling a great product or offering a great service doesn't make you immune from competition.

For example, if one of your competitors starts trading online, offering a price promise or giving an introductory discount these things could give them a competitive edge.

Be aware of what your competitors are offering – make an effort to stay ahead and make sure you don't lose out.

Kodiak's workplace posters regularly covers customer service and could help you to avoid some of these common mistakes.

If you would like to find out more about how our posters can help you offer better customer service, please get in touch.

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1 comment:

  1. These are ten very important kinds of behaviour to avoid in sales management. I totally agree with them and thank you for this article which I found really useful in small business.It shows in a good way, how to reach new customers avoiding biggest mistakes.