Modern advertisement techniques abound on the Internet, television, radio, and everywhere else you turn your eye and ear. For the most part, however, the focus seems to be entirely on how to get new customers rather than on how to retain old ones. Both are valid, in fact necessary, goals. These two twin goals ought be the two legs that your business walks on, the two indispensable wings without which it could not fly. Since keeping existing customers satisfied seems to be unduly under-emphasized, we shall endeavor here to point out five mistakes businesses make that result in customer loss.
Poor Customer Service
The number one key to customer retention is excellent customer service. If you continually frustrate your clients and ruin your relationships with them, you cannot expect to long retain them.
Only one percent of customer loss occurs because customers have passed away, three percent because they have moved away, and nine percent because the prospect of lower prices has lured them away. An astounding 68% of customers who chose to take their business elsewhere did it because they felt ignored or mistreated by the staff.
Ambience is important for clients to subconsciously make a decision about you and your company. First impression can start with having an atmosphere in the office that is comfortable. If you want to be lavish then the direction you can go is to purchase some cheap modern office furniture. But, if you are on a budget you can always find some cheap office furniture that expresses class and practicality. What other companies have started doing is having window walls to create an atmosphere of trust, which can go a long way for clients.
Though partly related to the above point, poor communication is also a broader concept. It extends, for example, to misleading advertisements that make special deals only seem worth it until the you read the fine print. It involves not listening and attempting to understand customer complaints and questions. It takes into account the failure to inform your customers of pertinent information and the inability to converse with them about your services/products in other than a specialized lingo that most people don’t speak.
Lack of Reward for Loyalty
While discounts and deals to reward new customers abound, there is often little or no benefit to be gained from customer loyalty. Perhaps this is why the average business will lose half of its total customer base within a three-year period. New clients keep coming in for the special treatment but then quickly disappear once the honeymoon is over.
The best way to stop this “rotating door” is to show your existing customers that you appreciate them. Reward them for their loyalty, and they will reward you by conducting friend-to-friend, word-of-mouth promotion of your business. They will do it without pay- the cheapest form of advertisement in existence! Add to that the fact that it is simply cheaper to retain a customer than to pay for expensive ads to bring in a new one, and you can see how much sense it makes to give deals to your regular clients. If you don’t reward long-term customers, that may be one reason why you don’t have very many.
Sudden changes in your prices, product sizes, or service policies ought be the exception rather than the rule. If customers don’t know what to expect out of you, they may choose the competition simply because it is a known, stable quantity. The fear of being hit with hidden fees and adversely affected by new rules is very real to many customers. You need to build a reputation of trustworthiness and tend to make changes small and incremental.
Too-Frequent Staff Replacements
While vacancies occur and the need to fire a poor employee will inevitably arise at some point, you should understand that many clients develop relationships with your staff. They may come to your establishment because of who works there just as much as because of other factors. Another aspect of this is that, if you mistreat employees and cause them to constantly quit, your reputation in the community will be hurt.