Customer Experience News & Trends

5 key reasons why customers leave

Why do customers take their business elsewhere? Sure, sometimes it’s about dissatisfaction with the quality or price of the product or service. More often, though, it’s about dissatisfaction with salespeople.

Why they leave

The majority of customers take their business elsewhere because salespeople don’t listen to what they say or ignore them completely. They also object to salespeople who don’t do what they say they will or don’t follow up or follow through.

Here are five leading reasons why customers leave:

1. Problems sour the relationship. Although initially a satisfied customers, unresolved problems develop in the relationship. Skepticism that there will always be problems can quickly sour the relationship and block any opportunity to move customers into the loyal category.

2. Poor follow-up. The same salesperson who spends months or even years pursuing a new customer fails to ensure that orders are processed and fulfilled in a satisfactory manner.

3. Poor listening skills. The salesperson doesn’t listen to what the customer really wants or fails to find a way to satisfy ongoing needs. Salespeople who listen more than they talk tend to retain more customers. The most successful salespeople listen 70 to 80% of the time to make an effort to learn the real needs of customers.

4. They take customers for granted. We often hear salespeople talking about “owning a customer” or having an account “wrapped up.”  They express shock when the customer turns to a competitor. Even though they may be doing a good job taking care of customer needs, that’s not enough today. It’s the ideas, the information, the help,. the guidance and the insight salespeople  give customers that continue to earn you the privilege of doing business with them.

5. They assume they know everything about the customer. Customers and companies change. One of the key roles of a salesperson is to gather information continually about customers. What’s happening to them? What changes are taking place? What problems are they facing? What difficulties are they encountering in the marketplace? What are their opportunities? What internal changes are taking place? If salespeople don’t have current, up-to-the-minute answers to these questions, they’re ‘re in no position to meet their needs. If we ponder the past too much, someone new may be coming through the door to take our place.

Here are tips that may help  salespeople build trust and commitment with their customers:

  • Always do what you say you will when you promise to do it.
  • Don’t make a commitment you may not be able to keep. Think about the amount of time you need to resolve a problem and make your commitment accordingly.
  • Customers would rather have you commit to a realistic time frame than a time frame that sounds good but is unrealistic.
  • If you make a commitment that you can’t meet, call your customer and explain the delay. Most customers are understanding as long as you are honest with them.
  • When making commitments, try to avoid words such as “as soon as possible” or “right away.” These time frames may mean one thing to you, but they probably mean something different to your customer.
  • Try to give a definite time commitment for your answer to a question or problem. Customers appreciate hearing a definite time and day rather than “I’ll call you back when I have an answer.”

Adapted from Award-Winning Customer Service (AMACOM) by Renee Evenson. Ms. Evenson has worked in customer service management for 30 years and is the author of Customer Service Training 101.

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