It’s never easy to see a customer leaving for good. Sometimes you think it’s normal. Well, who can please every customer? There must be one or two customers leaving, right? Not to mention the Internet these days have provided channels for these unsatisfied customers to burst their angst with less effort than before. While that could be the case, you can’t just maintain such mindset at all times. Otherwise, your business would just crumble sooner or later.
So what are the reasons businesses lose their customers?
First of all, customers may ditch your service/product for various reasons. Many leave because they’re deeply disappointed, unmatched expectation upon using the product/services, going bankrupt, or better options. Let us take the case of two most prominent online taxi services in Asia right now where we’re based. The Uber-versus-Grab Taxi case has been ongoing so far as they operate in Jakarta, Tokyo, Singapore, Hongkong, and other big cities. I sometimes alternately use these two options for the sake of better price and recent ride experiences.
Would a startup company as big as Grab Taxi or Uber care when they lose some customers? Well, maybe losing one or two wouldn’t be an issue since it’s really costless for customers to alternate between different services when they are disappointed with another. But hey, what happens when they keep losing at a growing rate? When would it be a matter of unmatched customer expectation over just a plainly disappointing service/product that keeps even their target audiences away?
It may be true that not all customers leave owing to disappointment but that would apply in most cases. Especially when you are just starting out. You might argue you’ve been doing your best to arm your staff with all possible tools to keep customers happy but wait, who knows there’s discrepancy between your perception of customer satisfaction and your company’s customers satisfaction. Don’t let your assumption haze your approach to the issue. Be objective while you find the root(s) of the problem.
When your startup fails to retain customers, there are some worst likely scenarios you need to consider, such as:
- You lose the money spent on getting new customers before even making profit.
- Obviously enough, sales and revenue decline.
- Customers loss not only means financial loss but also losing potential constructive, positive feedbacks valuable to help you do better.
- Losing customers also weakens the morale of startup’s employees. They’ll keep on asking,”What’s wrong with this startup?”
- Think of your startup’s survival. Paying customers are cash sources. Losing them may mean your company will be doomed due to ‘burning out’ (running out of cash).
All these potential threats can be avoided providing that you as an entrepreneur reacquire as many repeat, paying customers as you can. It shows your startup is constantly providing value to customers, and that your customers are happy. Happy customers are the best advocates of your startup.
According to Sreeram Sreenivasan (the founder of Ubiq), there’re six (6) steps he takes when dealing with customers so they’ll come back and bring more business. He advises that entrepreneurs should:
- let people know what they do for their customers
- educate customers on products and services
- give customers more special and limited offers and rewards
- generously offer discounts on a regular basis
- give personalized suggestion of products or services that they usually wanted but your startup couldn’t provide perfectly to fulfill a customer’s unique needs, and
- create an experience of high quality for them.
Michael Wolfe, a serial entrepreneur, opined that instead of just validating the problem with customers, try to validate solutions. “Sit down with target customers and walk them through the solution. They may tell you I’m wrong. Or, more likely, they may give you some leads into other ideas,” added Wolfe.
Reach out to your customers, or whenever they come at you to complain for the services, find out what happens, thank them, be open, and ask for feedbacks. You’d be surprised on the results. Sometimes you wouldn’t even know that such problems exist or could hamper customer experiences. By identifying the customer expectations, you can simply build your solution around that, and lastly, make sure that you provide friendly and responsive customer service that lets them know they are always welcome the next time they reach out to you. Make it easy for them to voice their concerns.
The conclusion here is that customer interaction is the key. While many would agree with this, it’s really easier said than done. What about you? Let us know what you think. (*/)