Customer Experience News & Trends

4 reasons customers leave – and how to keep them happy

When customers walk out on you, you can bet they talk, too — to friends, colleagues and family. And you can bet they won’t say the nicest things about you, either. This is how to prevent the walk and the (negative) talk.

“Just like maintaining a personal relationship, keeping customers coming back again and again for years takes care, commitment and hard work,” says Duke Chung, Parature co-founder and chief marketing officer. “When things go sour, you must take a step back and ask yourself two questions: ‘What have you been doing wrong?’ and ‘What can you do to make it better?'”

The answers aren’t always obvious to customer experience professionals because they’re too close to the situation or relationship to recognize something subtle that caused customers to walk.

But the reasons are often these top business sins — some of which companies don’t even realize they’re committing — according to research by Parature:

1. You don’t know customers (well enough)

Yes, customer experience pros know their customers, but perhaps not as well as they should.

You certainly know and keep track of what customers have bought, and sometimes recognize and respond to those natural preferences. But not as many organizations think forward and use that information to be more personal and introduce customers to things that are equally as relevant.

Think like Amazon: Recommend products based on what customers have bought in the past or based on what customers who are similarly situated rate highly. Personalized interactions that are built on past interactions will increase loyalty.

2. You aren’t available

Customers want immediate access to information. One study found that 74% of customers use at least three channels to interact with companies — yet some front-line sales and service pros aren’t always available on all of them, Chung says.

At a minimum, you need to be accessible via phone, social media and online during traditional business hours. But that’s rarely enough — even in B2B operations — anymore.

And what you do when you aren’t available might be as important. Post the times a person is available to help personally so customers know what to expect. Then make it clear when someone will respond to messages sent in the hours you aren’t immediately available.

3. You don’t listen well enough

We all assume we listen well to customers, colleagues and loved ones. But few of us actually do. We’re usually thinking of our response when others talk to us, or don’t pay full attention because we think we know what they’re going to say or want. Even worse, we ask people for feedback and fail to listen to it and respond.

So it’s not only important for front-line customer experience pros to listen to customers when they communicate with them, it’s important that they listen when customers give feedback in other channels — via surveys, social media, through industry networks, etc.

“If a customer takes time publicly or privately to thank you, criticize you or offer feedback, your response will be the determining factor for if they leave or if they remain a customer,” says Chung. “A two-way communication stream makes the customer feel valued, appreciated and more loyal to your products and services.”

4. You don’t admit you’re wrong

Your front-line people are smart, savvy and successful — and an ego can come with all that. So it’s sometimes difficult for front-liners and companies as a whole to see their faults and admit that something’s wrong.

We know that customers aren’t always right (despite what the old adage says). But the customer is always the customer. So customer experience pros need to hear them out when they complain or say something is askew. Then they want to take quick responsibility for the fix. In those situations, as long as customers know they were heard, atoned and appreciated, they’ll remain customers.

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