While only mentioned in whispers, if mentioned at all, is the stark reality that every business is losing customers at an alarming rate. Many companies remain in denial of course but recent research released by McKinsey and Company suggests that trends regarding customer loyalty are causing immediate shifts in the way many small companies are approaching their business.
McKinsey found that only 13% of the people they contacted and surveyed actually stated that they were loyal to a particular brand. Nearly 90% of those spoken with shopped and compared before buying which caused nearly 60% to actually switch from a brand they had previously purchased from. Why are customers running to your rivals? Why, exactly, are you losing customers?
- Perhaps the biggest blunder of all is less than stellar customer service. Sadly, not enough companies, especially small companies, give enough attention and training to the customer experience. To the customer, and potential customer, your customer service and support people are the face of the company. They are the company if you will. The problem for you is that if a customer doesn’t have a satisfying experience with your customer service rep they are not coming back. Oh, and few will bother telling your why they are not coming back. You are losing customers and you don’t even know why. Are your customer service people properly trained? Do they have the right mindset? Are they going that extra mile for the customer? When is the last time you called your customer service people to evaluate them? They are your front lines. Can you afford anything but the best?
- Another reason customers are fleeing is that your product or service did not meet their expectations or that it was faulty in some way. Also, customers are failing to see the value in what a company sells. Not everything is about the price point for customers. They want to see value for their purchase. If you or your sales teams are finding that customers are objecting and arguing with regard to price, it really just may be all about perceived value. They may not see any. So, what is your value proposition and are you properly articulating it across all of your marketing and advertising channels? Are your sales strategies and tactics value based?
- Finally, customers are fleeing because your brand lacks consistency. You are not dependable. People can’t depend on your business to produce a product or service on a consistent level. Restaurants is one industry that is plagued by this. You must have an overall plan for consistency for your business as well as for its products and/or services. This must be communicated and trained into your employees and you must hold them responsible for the company’s consistency. There is far too little room for error these days and no brand, regardless of size, can keep losing customers and expect to survive into the near future.
-Written by Kevin Sawyer