It’s Not Them; It’s You

Wonder why you keep losing clients? Here are nine reasons they’re leaving and what you can do to stop them

Lauren Dowdle
June 01 2017

Nobody likes hearing they’ve lost a customer. Most of the time, they’re just gone for no reason — or at least that’s how it seems. And having a customer disappear might be even more costly than you imagined.

It costs a company $234 every time they lose a customer or that a loyal customer is worth up to 10 times as much as their original purchase. Luckily, customer retention is possible: You just need to understand why they’re going first.

Check out nine reasons customers might be leaving — plus ways to prevent that from happening.

1. They Think You Don’t Care

We all want to feel special and valued, especially as a customer. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that 68% of customers leave a business relationship because of a perceived attitude of indifference on the part of the company, according to studies.

Basically, if you and your team don’t show customers you care about them and their business, they’re going to find someone who does.

The Solution: Show — don’t just tell — them you care.

We all know actions speak louder than words and the companies that act are the ones with higher customer retention rates. Here are a few simple ways you can show you care:

  • Remember their name and preferences by keeping notes in their customer file
  • Ask for their feedback, either through email, a survey or over the phone
  • Check in with customers to see how things are going. That can help you spot issues before they become bigger and it also nurtures those relationships
  • Show you care about what’s important to them, whether that’s a charity, cause or economic issue —TOMS gives a pair of shoes to children in need for every pair purchased

Remember: Any time you can exceed their expectations is a win.

2. You Aren’t Listening

In today’s digital world, there’s no lack of ways your customers can communicate with you. From emails and online reviews to social media channels, clients have plenty of ways share what they’re thinking.

And if you don’t respond, you can lose that customer — and others who saw you didn’t respond.

The Solution: Reply to every message, whether it’s good or bad.

If someone leaves a glowing five-star review on Facebook, thank them. And when they send an email to complain, reply within 24 hours, address their issue and show you truly care about their concern.

To truly impress, take what they said to heart and see how you can improve on your products and services. The voice of the customer (VoC) is one valuable tool.

3. The Grass Looks Greener

We’ve all seen ads that try to draw customers away from their current companies. Take cell phone providers, for example. They offer to pay off a customer’s contract with their current company, give away a free phone and advertise other bells and whistles they can come up with.

Those offers can seem enticing to customers, especially ones already on the fence about their current services. It’s impossible to control what your competitor does to lure away clients, but you can give them plenty of reasons to stay.

The Solution: Remind customers (regularly) why they’re with your company.

Consumers are definitely fickle, so show them why your business is best. Maybe you’re known for your stellar customer service. Send out an email highlighting the percentage of satisfied customers or a case study on a client who has been with you the longest.

Or if offering a competitive price is your thing, show them a cost comparison of you and a few main competitors. And if you offer a customer loyalty program, send them information on what that program includes and how they can take advantage of the perks.

You want to remind them what you do best — which is probably why they chose you in the first place.

4. Your Quality has Declined

There’s nothing wrong with looking for ways to cut costs. Where businesses run into trouble is when that cost savings lowers the quality of the products or services and upsets the customer.

Most businesses make the mistake of thinking price is the top concern for customers, but that’s just not the case, especially with the younger generations. The most important brand loyalty driver for millennials, at 77 percent, is a great product.

The Solution: Focus on providing high-quality product or service.

Don’t cut corners to save a few bucks because you’ll end up losing much more when the customer leaves. Pay attention to returns or dissatisfied customers to spot quality issues early on. And then fix those issues quickly.

5. They Don’t Feel Connected to your Brand

Ask someone if they prefer a PC or a Mac, and you’ll probably get a strong response one way or the other. They feel like that type of computer understands their needs and is a good reflection of them and their work.

You want your customers to feel the same way about your company: that you understand them and are a good fit for them. Building this sense of connection is the first step to creating customer loyalty — and one way you can keep them from leaving.

The Solution: Understand who they are to build an emotional connection.

Get to know them better through surveys, creating customer personas and reading their online comments. Then, use your findings to create targeted content (blogs, emails, social posts, etc.) and personalized offerings.

6. You Forget About the Customer Experience

Everything from your customer service and response time to how you show appreciation can affect the overall customer experience. It’s not something you do once: Customer experience requires constant focus to retain and keep customers happy.

60% of customers are actually willing to pay more for a better experience, according to an American Express survey. So how can you provide a quality experience?

The Solution: Put the customer and their experience first.

That’s the mindset your whole team needs must maintain, from the front line all the way up to the top. For example, meet or exceed deadlines (ex. shipments), personalize their experience where possible, get creative on how to take service to the next level and work to make your customers smile.

Think like your customers. Put yourself in their shoes: What would make the experience better?

7. They Can’t Reach You

In today’s 24/7 economy, customers expect brand availability on a variety of channels. Gone are the days of people leaving voicemails and just waiting to hear back.

The Solution: Provide instant communication options for customers.

You need to be able to meet that need, whether it’s with a live chat, quick response rate on social media or offering a customer portal. See which channel works best for your customers, and make sure you’re there.

8. You Keep them in the Dark

You need to treat your customer relationships like you would any other. You can’t expect to continue to take and take without giving anything in return, and that includes company updates.

It’s not just about sharing information with them when something happens: It’s about showing it’s a two-way street of open communication.

The Solution: Be as transparent as possible with your customers.

For example, if you have a change in management, product cancellation or even exciting news, share it with your customers. It’s another way to help them feel connected to your business and to build trust with customers.

9. They Think You’re Unauthentic

Consumers nowadays are much more savvy when it comes to business techniques and can smell a rat a mile away. If you come across as someone who’s just interested in making the sale — and not actually providing a service or product to meet their needs — they’ll know and hit the road.

The Solution: Remember who you are and why you started the business.

Don’t lose sight of why you’re passionate about your company, and your customers will take notice. You don’t want your business techniques to feel forced. For example, if your social posts sound like ads instead of a personal conversation, that will be a major turnoff for customers.

People do business with people they like, so make sure your persona is likeable.

Stop Customers from Leaving

Take a proactive approach with customers for better retention, and troubleshooting before small issues become even bigger.

These tips will not only keep them from leaving, but it will also help turn them into loyal customers.

Lauren Dowdle

Lauren Dowdle is an award-winning writer and magazine editor based in Nashville, Tenn. Her nearly decade-long writing career has covered everything from landscaping to marketing — plus being interviewed by Jay Leno and winning a backhoe-operating contest. When she’s not behind the keyboard, you’ll find her spoiling her four furry babies and exploring the city with her husband.

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