The most important thing any business owner can do is learn who they want their customers to be, how to attract them and, most importantly, how to keep them around. Just because they bought into your brand once, doesn’t mean they will remain loyal long term. Brand loyalty is something any entrepreneur should prioritize if they want their business to last. Unfortunately, while it can take a lot to gain a customer, it doesn’t take much to turn someone off of your product or service. Small blunders eventually add up to big turn-offs, and it’s easier to make detrimental mistakes than most founders think.
Luckily, you can stop losing customers and start keeping them instead by understanding what drives them away, and knowing how to avoid it. When you increase your focus on customer retention, you also increase your company’s bottom line, and sales potential.
8 Simple Steps to Losing Customers
Looking for a thorough breakdown of what not to do? Here are eight quick steps that are guaranteed to cost you a client every time.
1. Price Yourself Too High
While all founders dream of the one customer who is happy to pay all costs for your services, these are rare. More frequently, customers have sticker shock with even reasonable rates. Pricing yourself or your products too high is the first step to losing a client before you’ve even closed the deal.
To avoid this, do ample market research before you set your rates. What is your competition charging? What’s the going price in your industry? Use this intel to inform your strategy.
2. Wait 3-5 Days to Respond to an Inquiry
If there’s one thing customers hate, it’s not being able to get in touch with a company they want to work with. When a client calls you, they’re generally looking for someone to fill a need right now.
If they can’t get ahold of you or you’re excessively slow to respond, they’ll find another company to take your place. In the age of expedience, responding quickly is more important than ever.
3. Hire Rude Employees
The ruder your employees are, the faster your customers are likely to leave. There’s a good reason for this: employees are the face of your company, and hiring rude ones makes you look bad. What’s more, so many businesses are focusing on enhancing their customer service right now that it’s not difficult for your lost customers to find another brand that treats them better. Make having positive, friendly, accessible employees a priority.
4. Stop Keeping Your Promises
Today, customers are more than willing to leave companies they see as dishonest or unscrupulous. If you don’t keep your promises or deliver on your deliverables, you’re placing yourself in this boat.
The moral of the story is this: if you’re not positive you can keep a promise (such as raising someone’s listing to the #1 result on Google within two weeks, for example), don’t make it. Instead, offer general yet exciting performance metrics that you know your customers can count on.
5. Put Out a Low-Quality Product
Like expedience, quality is essential today. In a world where virtually every brand recognizes that customers don’t want cheap, low-end items, it’s more important than ever to create quality, reliable products people can count on.
If customers have complaints about your products, or if you have any doubt about their functionality, fix it sooner rather than later. It’ll go a long way towards preserving your customer base.
6. Look Unprofessional
Even if you run a digital business, appearance is everything. If you look unprofessional, customers will perceive you as unprofessional. Be sure your website, social media presence, marketing materials, and online copy are all as sharp and honed as possible.
This means doing simple things, like swapping out a fuzzy profile picture for a sharp image of your logo, beefing up your social media bio so people who come across your profile can gain an instant understanding of your company, and posting industry-related content on a regular basis.
The more professional these things look, the easier it will be to locate and retain your customers for years to come.
7. Make it Hard to Do Business with Your Brand
Customers don’t like to slog through complicated business interactions. If your purchase process is impossible, your customer service agents rude or nonexistent, or your product list foggy, you can bet you’re losing customers.
To put an end to this, find ways to streamline your business process. Step into your customer’s shoes to understand what working with you looks like from their end. If it’s difficult or impossible, adjust your approach immediately.
8. Make it Impossible to Reach a Real Person
Companies like Discover have made a big splash by promising 100% human, 100% U.S.-based customer service agents. They’ve also made their customer service number easy to find, unlike many other companies, and ensured that customers will get a human on the line within just a few seconds.
By refusing to trap customers in an automated phone cycle, you show that you care about their time and concerns. What’s more, since the average customer spends trapped in an automated phone system while trying to reach their favorite companies, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition and win client hearts in the process.
Stop Losing Customers Today
Losing customers isn’t just bad business – it also destroys your bottom line and can have a disastrous impact on the long-term sustainability of your company. Luckily, you can stop losing your hard-earned leads by avoiding these eight common mistakes and by finding unique ways to make your brand more attentive, professional, and accessible.