The goal of any business is to attract and keep customers. A discussed in my previous article your customer service attitude goes a long way in determining your outcome. Face it; you want your customers to come back. So why don’t they come back? Here are some of the reasons. Some things you can control and some things you can’t. That’s just the way it is. There are 5 reasons customers don’t come back. Some you can control and some you can’t. Please pay close attention to the issues you can control. I want you to focus only on the issues you can control. It’s much more fun that way.
Approximately 1% of your customers will not return or refer others because they will die. Unless you’re in a funeral related business, this is not good news for you. We’re all going to die and if you live every day of your life as if it were the last one two things will happen. You’ll have more fun and one day you’ll be right. This is a customer service issue over which you have no control.
Roughly 3% of your customers will move away and unless you own a national corporation or franchise chances are, they’ll shop somewhere else. Unless of course it’s your wife’s hair stylist as that is always, as we all know, an exception to the rule. You may be persuasive but reality dictates that you have no control over your customer’s decision to re-locate.
About 5% develop other friendships. You may be the best realtor in town but if your customer marries another realtor your luck has run out. On the other hand if that same customer still works with you chances are they married a lousy realtor. Family, friendships and other kinds of relationships can cause you to lose a customer through absolutely no fault of your own. There is considerable truth in the expression that ‘blood is thicker than water’. From a customer retention perspective this is another issue, over which you have no control.
Approximately 14% of your customers will leave because they are dissatisfied with the product. This is particularly challenging when selling or servicing singular products. The reality is some products and services are a better fit for some customers than others. That’s just the way that it is. Once again you have little control over this outcome.
Here’s the iceberg, the silent killer of your business. This is the single biggest reason why customers don’t come back. Often you don’t even know it’s happened. Unfortunately it’s systemic in our service culture and it’s why service sucks. Around 68% of your customers don’t come back because they perceive an attitude of indifference from you, or someone in your organization. Almost three quarters of your customers we’re talking about and the good news is you can do something about it.
Yes it is true that indifference is the natural enemy of any service driven business. To understand service you want to understand indifference. For example many people believe that the opposite of love is hate. That’s not true. The opposite of love is not hate; the opposite of love is indifference. Most of us have experienced the sting of indifference at some point in our lives. You know how it goes. You meet that special person and you know this is the one. You can feel it and you tell them so. They look you in the eyes and tell you that you’re the only one and they can’t imagine life without you. Do you know that look?
Then one day, sometimes over night, that same person is indifferent to your very existence. You go from hero to zero in a moment. Suddenly it seems that person doesn’t care anymore making you wonder, if they ever did. In terms of customer service our fast paced economy has added fuel to the fire of indifference. It’s much easier to take customers for granted, when they are lining up to buy your products or services.
In addition short term thinking and instant gratification is part of our culture. In North America the whole world turns in thirty days. The jeweller who sold you a piece of crap at outrageous margin doesn’t consider all the future purchases you’ll make. I’ve got a real life story about this experience I’ll relay later. The realtor who sells your house forgets that you will sell and buy many more. The car salesperson who sold you your car forgets that you’ll buy many cars in your lifetime.
When customers come back it’s a great thing but how about those referrals? There are so many advantages when one of your customers refers someone else to you. In these challenging times referred customers are the key to your success. The trust by association you benefit from translates into shorter sales cycles, less objections, stalls and resistance to price as well as service points. In addition because there is less tension they are a lot more fun to work with. In these economic times client growth and retention is important. In today’s environment keeping a close eye on your cost of sales is important. It takes five times more money to attract a new customer, than it does to keep an old one. I hope you enjoyed this article on the 5 reasons customers don’t come back. Always remember that your attitude about customer service is in your control.