How to stop customers leaving you without telling you

Recent research shows that when a customer leaves you (i.e. they have a less than satisfactory experience and decide never to use your services again), about 97% won’t tell you.

They’ll just disappear – you’ll never hear from them again – and you won’t know why.

So you’ll never find out what you could have done differently in order to get them to come back to you … or even to come back AND bring some friends!

And, of course, although they won’t tell you … who will they tell? Their friends of course, either on or offline: so the rest of the world will know the story of why they don’t want to use your services again … but YOU won’t know!

What a terrible, but unfortunately normal, situation!

This is often by far the biggest cost to any business – customer defection – and it never reaches the figures, so the finance people, and you, aren’t even aware of the size of the problem.

It’s your biggest cost, you have no idea of how large it is, and you can’t get the information to stop it happening! What a nightmare!

But it could be different.

Let me illustrate with a little story of how to get it wrong, followed by a story of how to get it right.

Firstly: how to get it wrong.

I am a member of a local gym. They have an app, and they have front of house teams who meet and greet.

Every time I log in to the app, I’m asked for feedback: ‘How’s it going at your local gym?’ and a request for a star rating.

All over the gym are notices: ‘Tell us what you think’.

Being a person interested in these systems, I fill in the feedback on the app every time, and I tell them what I think, good and bad, on every visit.

How many times do you think I’ve had a response or a follow-up to my feedback?

Yes, you guessed it: a big fat ZERO!

When I asked them about their feedback systems, they told me: ‘Oh no! We don’t get much feedback, you’re very unusual!’

Well, what a surprise.

And they also tell me that they’re struggling to attract new members and keep existing ones …

You really couldn’t make it up!

So: they run the wrong systems, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons and never follow up.

No wonder their systems aren’t working, and they struggle to get referrals and customer loyalty – it’s bloody obvious common sense!

But, they doggedly carry on with their (useless and annoying) systems, because it’s good PR and someone on the Board told them they ‘should’ do it!

Maybe they’ll start to genuinely ask and listen when they go bankrupt?

How to get it right.

We designed and run a feedback process, by phone for a large B2B clothing supplier.

All customers are told that they’ll get called at least once a year, by a 3rd party, to listen to them and to find out how this company is performing in their opinion.

On top of this, there’s a 24 hour line for feedback and queries.

The feedback process operates continually with circa 120 customers being called each week. The system uses 3 simple, open questions, and includes ‘lapsed’ customers.

All feedback is fed directly to the MD and is reviewed weekly with the Operations Board, using our ‘Go the Extra Inch’ process.

From this process, three things happen.

  1. Every response is thanked and responded to by the Director responsible. The feedback giver is told what actions they’ve taken with the feedback they gave.
    1. a. If there are specific issues to be followed up, these are then taken forward and responded to separately.
    1. b. If there are specific ‘moments of greatness’ highlighted: these are also followed up appropriately.
  2. All feedback is fed into the weekly ‘Go the Extra Inch’ sessions to identify and implement the continual inch by inch improvement systems.
  3. On top of these continual improvement and customer loyalty systems, they have found that this process very often re ignites the interest from the ‘lapsed’ customers to start buying again – and this, in itself, pays for the cost of the process three times over … without all the other benefits!

And to really put the icing on the cake, the Company’s profit-sharing system is either enhanced or diminished … depending on feedback.

And for some reason beyond comprehension, they find that their people are energised, their innovation is consistent and continual, and their customer loyalty and referrals are sky high.

What a coincidence!

We’ve just published a 38 page ebook on ‘Effective feedback systems’: if you’d like a copy, please contact us and let us know: there’s no obligation and no sign-ups … just free and helpful information.

Slow Selling is a UK based not for profit organisation for leaders and managers in independent businesses.

Our systems deliver peace of mind and confidence to caring leaders and managers of start-ups and small businesses who have limited time and resources, and want to grow their business … without sacrificing principles or profits.

To find out more, please click here

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