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Are customers giving you 1-star ratings?
Are customers giving you 1-star ratings?

7 reasons customers are abandoning you

Perhaps you worked hard for years to build a loyal customer base, and now your customers are leaving your store in droves. STEVE DIGIOIA discusses what could have went wrong.

Sales are down and the bills are piling up. Employee morale is low and coming to work is no longer fun. When business was good, you thought it would last forever. You stopped doing the things that brought you success and eventually took your loyal customers for granted.

You became the ‘bad boss’! If you find yourself in this situation, what happened? How did you get here?

These are the seven most common reasons customers take their business elsewhere. I bet if you asked your customers why they stopped shopping with you, these are some of the reasons they would give.

1. Don’t patronise me

I don’t care about the industry jargon or the technical terms salespeople use to describe why a product stopped working. Speak to me like I’m a person.

Explain the problem in terms I can understand. Only then will I agree to pay for the repair or replacement. If not, I don’t need your product or company; I’ll very quickly go somewhere else.

2. Don’t make me feel unimportant

I need to know you appreciate my business and value me as part of your success. I need to feel welcome when I enter your business, and to receive a warm and sincere smile.

That’s not asking for too much and it’s the very least I expect.

3. Don’t give me excuses

I understand problems arise that are out of your control – deliveries arrive late; product shortages happen; unseen damage and costs are unavoidable. Just be honest.

Don’t make up a story. I need to trust you.

4. Don’t leave me waiting
"If you don’t realise that customer service is why I come to your store, then your business will never succeed - it’s the employees who make the business"

The last time I was in your store, your staff answered the phone and entered into a lengthy conversation just as I approached the counter. Have some consideration; I’m not invisible and my time is also valuable.

Remember that I’m the customer and I am in your store with cash in my pocket. You can always call the other party back. Tend to me promptly and with courtesy or I’ll easily go somewhere else.

5. Don’t substitute inferior products

I’ve shopped with you for years and have always been happy but now, just to save costs, you’ve started to provide cheaper quality products.

I can tell the difference and I’m not happy with it. Please go back to using the highest quality items, as you’ve always done. That’s why I come here.

6. Don’t hire apathetic staff

If you don’t realise that customer service is why I come to your store, then your business will never succeed.

It’s the employees who make the business, not the fancy furnishings, the artwork on the walls or any of that.

Your employees don’t seem to care about me; they spend too much time talking to each other and their eyes are always focused on their mobile phones. I want to tell them, “I’m here. Sell me something,” but I don’t think it would make a difference. Why did you employ them?

7. Reinvest in the business

I understand that businesses can’t spend much money when things are tight; however, they must fix what’s broken.

Your floor is worn, your counters and showcases are chipped and your walls need a paint job. This doesn’t affect the products you sell, but it does affect the overall shopping experience.

Add this to the other items above and you will very quickly see why I no longer want to come here to shop.

As your long-time customer, I don’t ask for much. OK, maybe I do but that’s what business is all about – satisfying the needs of the customer.

There are limits to my loyalty, just as there are limits to the services you can provide but it’s not too late to fix things. You can still recover from this.

Many books have been written about how to lose a customer without really trying, or how much it costs to lose a customer but that’s not important now. We can fix this and we can do it without the help of a book.

As customers, we are a forgiving bunch. We like you and want the best for you. We want to keep coming here but you need to change things for the better.

Please remember a successful business is like a championship sports team; we are all in this together, but the team will break up if you don’t do your part. Then you’ll be out of business, but I can find another team.

Steve Digioia

Steve Digioia helps companies improve customer service. Learn more: stevedigioia.com/blog

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