Customers are bombarded with more attractive offers all the time. They see better deals based on price, quality or service. Yet those are not the factors that cause them to switch from – or encourage them to stay with – a company, according to new research.
Customers rely on their emotional experiences with salespeople more than any of the traditional factors, according to research by the Peppers & Rogers Group, which showed that:
- 60% of all customers stop dealing with a company because of what they perceive as indifference on the part of salespeople
- 70% of customers leave a company because of poor service, which is usually attributed to a salesperson
- 80% of defecting customers describe themselves as “satisfied” or “very satisfied” just before they leave, and
- Customers who feel their salespeople are exceptional are 10 to 15 times more likely to remain loyal.
Attitude and emotion
These statistics show the important role that attitude and emotion play in determining whether customers leave or stay. It’s critical for salespeople to understand customer attitudes and regularly collect feedback.
Most salespeople can answer the “who, what, when, where and how” of a business relationship. The missing element is “why.” Why do your customers do business with you? Is it because they feel valued, protected or informed? These “why” factors have a definitive impact on customer loyalty.
Complacency undermines loyalty
It’s not a good idea to take a customer’s loyalty for granted. Meeting their expectations is not enough. Customers want to know you care. They want a positive response when they run into problems or have serious questions.
You have expertise and knowledge. You know what’s happening in your industry and you know your customers’ needs. Make a serious effort to share your thoughts. Try to help the customer get what’s needed. It’ll build confidence and trust for you and your company.
Some salespeople think because they’ve been around a long time, they’ll always be given top priority by prospects and customers.
But it’s more effective to act as if no one knows you or recognizes the value you bring. That makes you prove it every day.
Stay in the mindset of your customers
Retaining your value in the minds of your customers requires persistence and focus. Try to avoid assumptions about customers, because their needs change frequently. Ask yourself, “What’s happening to my customers? What changes are taking place? What problems are they facing? What difficulties are they encountering in the marketplace? What are their opportunities?
If you don’t have current, up-to-the minute answers to these questions, you’re in no position to meet their needs. The first rule is to stay in touch. Call frequently to find out if customers have any challenges that need to be met and how you can help.
You may be doing a good job taking care of customer needs, but that may not be nearly enough today. It’s also the ideas, information, help, guidance and insight that you give customers that earns the privilege of doing business with them. Initiate discussions that focus on their future needs, upcoming projects or areas of potential growth.
Source: Don Peppers is the founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group