Customer Experience News & Trends

6 signs customers will walk – and how to win them back

Most customers put up red flags before they quit you, but many companies ignore them. Here’s what to watch for and how to win back their loyalty.

“There are early signs that you’ll lose a customer,” said customer service and sales trainer Debra Schmidt, president of The Loyalty Leader, who recently spoke at a Progressive Business Conference. “You just need to know what to look for.”

Watch for these

Here are the signs a customer’s about to walk:

  • Squeaking wheels. “Their initial problem is just the beginning. Then they might be bothered throughout the fix. And they let you know it,” Schmidt said.
  • Product returns. Customers who return frequently are losing patience and interest in your company, products and services. Keep close tabs on returns and who’s making them.
  • Silence. Customers who don’t return surveys, your calls or respond to any promotion for some time are likely on their way out the door.
  • Slow pay. Customers who’ve always paid on time, and suddenly aren’t — and with no explanation — could be looking for another supplier and planning to sever ties with you.
  • Fewer purchases. When the amount or frequency of orders starts to trail off, customers could already have another supplier lined up, and they’re weaning themselves off of you.
  • Repeat calls. When customers call again and again over the same issue, it means they’re still interested in doing business with you — but their patience is growing thin. One more call could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

They’ll stay with you

The good news is if you keep a keen eye on customers who’ve slowed or stopped doing business with you — and make an effort to win them back — you can probably save them.

Nearly 90% of customers who’ve stopped doing business with a company say no one even tried to contact them after the departure, a CRMGuru survey found.

Most customers could be wooed back — mostly because they haven’t found a new supplier or can forgive the error or attitude that caused them to become irritated.

The key: Know when customers are likely on the fence about your relationship.

To do that:

  • Make it a priority. Some organizations have a person or people on staff to monitor customer activity. As it changes, they keep an eye on the account and take proactive steps — perhaps emails, calls or visits — to see if anything is wrong.
  • Maintain a list of customer activity. When customers’ activity starts to slow, reach out in the most personal way possible.
  • Red flag accounts when customers have problems. Follow up two or three times to ask if they’re happy.

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