Articles often focus on informing entrepreneurs about how to gain customers. But, what could be causing businesses to lose current or potential customers in the first place is rarely discussed.
Understanding these common mistakes is a great place to start for developing a successful customer support and retention strategy. After all, it's just as essential to be aware of the pitfalls you should steer clear of in addition to customer acquisition tactics.
So, here are 15 key reasons that small businesses lose customers and how to avoid them.
1. Avoid Putting in Effort
In some scenarios, a solution can be found with little effort. But your team shouldn't aim to provide the bare minimum. When the chance to transcend presents itself, seizing it can significantly increase client loyalty. It might even merely make someone's day happier, making them more inclined to choose your business again in the future.
2. Take Your Customers for Granted
Consumers have many options for the products or services your brand offers. However, they select your brand over the others in the market. This is exactly why you should not take your loyal customer for granted.
To show customers your care towards them, brands can implement loyalty programs. If customers are satisfied, they will continue to bring business to your specific brand, purchase more than the average customer, and become advocates for your brand. When dealing and interacting with customers, it is also important to be respectful. This is essential to the consumer and is a big factor if they will support your brand or not.
3. Rush the Support Process
It can be tempting to move through every customer support problem as quickly as possible when time, resources, or staff are limited. While an efficient problem-solving style is great, though, it’s essential not to make your brand's customers feel rushed.
Although it may add extra time, making customers feel important is more than worth it. It is critical that you take the time to understand their problems and provide the attention and support they need in order to feel confident in your business. If not, you may risk leaving your customers feeling disgruntled, unsatisfied, and unwilling to frequent your business again.
4. Fail to Set Expectations
In some cases, customer requests go through a chain of command– requiring another person to research solutions and contact other team members. In these instances, it is important to set a genuine and straightforward timeline and outcome expectations for the customer. This will minimize the chances of their expectations not being met and any subsequent negative feelings associated with your business.
Provide customers with a precise proposal of when they can expect to hear a reply or resolution suggestions. This may earn their trust and prove to them that your brand cares about finding a solution to their problem while respecting their time and patience.
5. Overlook the Training Process
When hiring new employees, it’s vital to familiarize them with your business, service, or product, and methods of customer service. Equipping employees with the ability to handle upcoming management positions is a vital aspect of effective operations and can also determine the future growth and success of a business.
This may require some extra time on the job, but the up-front investment is a surefire way to provide quality service to customers in the long term– increasing the value your business offers.
6. Be Inconsistent
Customers may contact your business many times throughout their lifespan as a patron. This may happen several times in relation to a singular matter, or they may also reach out regarding other concerns.
So, it is essential that each customer service experience is consistent. Within these interactions, make it known that the team is acquainted with error correction steps, procedures, and rules. That way, employees don’t encounter the issue of contradicting and confusing your customers. This will save your employees from seeming unaware and misinformed and allow your customers to know what to expect every time they reach out for assistance.
7. Forget to Follow Up
Every customer question cannot be answered in a single interaction. But even if it's occasionally unavoidable to ask customers to wait, it's imperative to follow up with a solution or more details. A lot of platforms now offer reminders to make the process simpler. Nonetheless, it is critical to have a strategy in place.
Following a customer service interaction, your business can also follow up to receive feedback on the quality of assistance offered. Short questionnaires can provide valuable insights for your operations while also showing customers you care about their perspective and experience.
8. Make Promises You Can’t Keep
It can be difficult to explain to a customer you cannot provide a solution to their problem, yet it is an inevitable aspect of the business world. It is better to be honest rather than putting it off and pushing the responsibility over to other members of your team. Also, delaying the inevitable news will only make the customer more impatient and unhappy with your business– decreasing trust, transparency, and the likelihood of positive word-of-mouth referrals.
9. Argue With Customer Complaints
Your staff may not agree with every client issue. This is especially true if the complaints are concerning issues that are beyond your control or functions that your product or service was never designed to do. Yet, battling with clients about these matters is pointless. At best, arguments make both parties more frustrated and risk your team members appearing unprofessional.
Remember, customer complaints are valuable pieces of feedback that you can assess and choose to take action on after collection. So, in difficult instances, staff members can reassure upset customers that their complaints are being heard and will come under advisement.
10. Ignore Feedback
Consumers' recommendations may contain all the material your business needs to develop.
Operating a successful business depends on sustaining satisfied consumers– meaning that businesses must pay close consideration to the feedback they receive. Although you may think that your team is correct, this isn't always true. So, ignoring customer feedback can only hurt your business and keep it further away from success.
11. Fail to Seek Clarification
Although certain routine resolutions may resolve a sizable amount of customer problems, it is critical to fully listen to each issue before jumping to conclusions. By fully hearing out the customer, your team can be certain they are providing the most relevant and helpful advice.
12. Tell Customers Their Wrong
When customers encounter problems because they are incorrectly using a feature or have an incorrect understanding of how something works, it can be tempting to simply tell them they are incorrect–especially since employees are more knowledgeable about a business’s product or service than the regular customer.
However, telling a customer that they are wrong is never a good idea. Instead, employees should deliver customers with appropriate materials– such as informative guides or graphics– they can use to move past the issue in an accommodating manner. Never accuse a mistake; instead, show understanding and seek to clarify situations.
13. Avoid Taking Responsibility
Placing the responsibility for a mistake on another team or a customer will only make matters worse. Step one should always entail apologizing for the inconvenience. This can go a long way and establishes a sense of integrity.
Apologizing for a mistake demonstrates that your business acknowledges that a fault occurred. And if an apology isn’t issued, most customers will suppose you didn't recognize you made an error or get the idea your business purely doesn’t care.
14. Assume Problems Are Resolved
As a support worker helps customers resolve problems, they generally want to move forward to the next issue they have to resolve
Although, before moving on, employees should make certain the customer considers the issue to be fixed and that they may move on. Creating the assumption that your resolution is sufficient can lead to unfixed problems and customer dissatisfaction.
To be certain that a problem is resolved, instruct your team to ask follow-up questions regarding the clarity of a solution and whether they can be of any more assistance.
15. Limit Your Support to a Single Channel
Every customer has a preferred way of engaging with businesses when it comes to requesting assistance. These differences depend on everything from device availability to demographic groups and platform preferences. So, the best way to cater to these preferences is by offering various kinds of support channels.
At the very least, most customers now consider email and phone support as standard means of communication. But, depending on your target audience and their support needs, adding other channels can be a great way to boost satisfaction with your service.