Everyone loses customers from time to time. The company that never lost a single customer has never existed and never will. And sometimes losing a customer is a good thing from the company’s point of view because, let’s face it – and unwelcome as this thought may be in some quarters – not all customers are angels and some cost more than they’re worth: in time wasted on pointless discussions; in correcting false impressions; in refunding customers who bought something in the mistaken belief that, clearly labelled though the item was, it was actually something else. (Think of the famous 1-star Amazon review for a 2010 diary bought in 2014. The ad clearly said it was for the year 2010 but the customer bought it as a 2014 diary and then slated the seller. No-one needs customers like that).
There are, though, customers it’s disappointing to lose and – although, as already stated, any company that survives long enough is going to experience that disappointment from time to time – there are ways to keep the number as low as possible.
The commonest reason for losing a customer, and the one all brands should seek to eliminate, is a bad customer experience. And it doesn’t stop at a lost customer, because people who have had a bad experience are far, FAR more likely to tell their friends (and, indeed, everyone else) about it than people who were satisfied. It gets even worse, because the White House Office of Consumer Affairs says only 4% of dissatisfied customers complain – for every complaint a brand receives, there are 26 others who don’t say a word to the brand; but they DO take their business elsewhere, they DO tell people about the bad experience they had, and they DO make it that much more difficult for the brand to acquire new customers.
The answer? LISTEN to that one customer out of 27 who complains, UNDERSTAND what went wrong, FIX the problem and TELL the offended customer it was fixed.
And don’t do it again!