When a customer leaves

Surveys have shown that there are 5 key reasons customers leave:

  1. 1% die
  2. 3% move
  3. 14% are lured by a competitor
  4. 14% are turned away by product or service dissatisfaction
  5. 68% leave because of poor attitude or indifference on the part of the service provider

You cannot do anything about the first 2 reasons, but you can have a positive impact on 96% of the customers who may leave in the next year!

Here are 9 things to consider doing to reduce the number of customers who leave:

  1. Exceed expectations. Instead of promising more than you can give, give more than you promise — under promise, over deliver.
  2. Always be available. Be there to serve customers whenever they need you to be there. Use the same social media channels as your customers.
  3. Make your service individual. Understand your individual customers specific needs and how they want to do business with you. Then, as much as possible, personalise the service for them.
  4. Make it easy to do business with you. Keep it simple!
  5. Put the customer first. Be proactive, go that extra mile for your customer.
  6. Put it right if it goes wrong. Take ownership, admit responsibility and put the customer in the position they would have been in if it had n’o gone wrong.
  7. See complaints as opportunities. Complaints are a great form of customer feedback. Understand the customers perception of how they feel you have let them down and make changes.
  8. Communicate with customers. Ask them questions – but make sure you listen to the answers!
  9. Remember nonverbal communication. When communicating with customers, observe their non-verbal signals. Take note of their body language, appearance and posture. Look for signs of distraction. Pay attention to their facial expressions and eye contact. Listen to the tone of their voice as a means for understanding what they may be feeling.

Here is what to do if a customer leaves:

1. Make it easy

Customers are your greatest assets, and it hurts to lose them, but you cannot win by making it hard or expensive to leave. Be clear about your cancellation, refund and money-back policy from the beginning, letting your customers know if there are any cancellation fees or other charges. Make any information about cancellation easily found on your website. Treat your customers time as valuable.

2. Treat Them Properly

Treat a customer who leaves just as you would if they stayed – respect their decision. Always communicate positively with them. Your reputation depends on it (and it is the first step to winning them back!).

3. Ask why they are leaving

Most customers who leave do not bother to let you know. They just start using a competitor. So it is important to follow up and find out why they left – then you can make changes to your business.

4. Suggest a Solution if possible

Once you know why they are leaving, try to offer something that fixes the problem. Some will change their mind. Even if they do not, your attitude will make a huge difference to how they feel about your business.

5. Say “Thank You”

We all want to feel appreciated. Saying “Thank you for your business” does not take much effort but it will show you are grateful they were a customer and that they gave you valuable feedback.

6. Leave the Door Open

You have a much better chance of winning business from lost customers than from new prospects… the average firm has a 60 to 70 percent probability of successfully selling again to “active” customers, a 20 to 40 percent probability of successfully selling to lost customers, and only a 5 to 20 percent probability of making a successful sale to prospects.

Make it easy for former customers to come back. Tell them you are sorry about their decision, but you can understand it and will be happy to serve them again in the future.

For more advice on keeping your customers, why not contact our expert* Helen on LinkedIn?

*We’ve picked experts we know and trust who are good at what they do. All of them will give you at least an extra 30 minutes free advice if you contact them and would then charge their normal prices. They don’t pay to be on BuBul and don’t give us any money from anything they earn as an expert.