Businesses rely on customer feedback to make sure they’re on the right track, but few dissatisfied customers will let you know they’re unhappy. Instead, they’ll leave and tell friends, family and social media followers. Unless those complaints are made in a public forum like Twitter, you may never know the true reason customers aren’t coming back.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all model to customer dissatisfaction, there are some common issues that send customers scrambling. In some cases, complaints may never reach the supervisor level, with customer-facing employees choosing not to relay them to management. These frequently-reported issues you aren't hearing about can cause your customers to run to competitors.
1. You broke a promise
Despite all of the other things your business does, your product or service is the most important thing. It’s what brings customers to you in the first place, often after seeing your clever marketing campaign online or through traditional media. When you promise a certain benefit from using your product or service, customers expect to see that benefit. If you disappoint them, you can expect they’ll leave. Bait-and-switch tactics are only effective in winning a customer’s business the first time. A business wins long-term customers by delivering on its promises.
This includes pricing offers. If you advertise a big discount, don’t add on a large number of fees that negates any savings the customer might have received. That discount offer will introduce customers to your product and hopefully win them over.
2. Your representatives are rude
As your business grows, you’ll be unable to handle every customer interaction yourself. Ideally, every person you hire will have a natural talent for great customer service and will maintain high morale, at all times. Even on the worst day, each employee shows only the happiest, friendliest face to your customers.
Unfortunately, such help is very difficult to find. Even the best employee will have an off day, especially when dealing with hostile or combative customers. It’s important to have a way to monitor employee interactions, whether through recorded phone conversations or management supervision. If a particular employee seems to have difficulty interacting productively with customers, training and eventual termination may become necessary.
Related: 5 Best Customer Service Ideas
3. Unwanted solicitation
Telemarketing and mailings are a popular way to reach out to new customers and invite existing customers back. But telemarketing efforts are far from popular with customers. Email and direct mail solicitations often are discarded, unopened. Persistent efforts to reach out to existing customers can backfire, with your business being labeled as pesky and intrusive.
The National Do Not Call registry allows businesses to contact existing customers, leading some companies to make phone calls to let customers know about new promotions or try to add more services. Just because these calls are allowed legally doesn’t mean they’ll be welcome. Instead, consider sending “VIP customers only” coupons via email or mail to those customers who agree to receive mailings in this way.
4. The competitor offered a better deal
With so much competition, it can be difficult to avoid being one-upped by the competition. Whether it’s a lower price or a better set of features, many of your customers will simply leave for a better deal elsewhere. With showrooming and webrooming so prevalent today, it can be almost impossible to remain aware at all times of the lower prices being offered by your competitors. By setting up Google Alerts for product-specific keywords and consistently pricing competitors yourself, you can help offset customer loss on a regular basis.
It’s only natural that your business will lose customers over time, with some of them never letting you know why. By taking measures to regularly monitor and improve your organization, you can retain some of those customers and become known as a top business within your industry.