One of the biggest problems in the business world today is the loss of loyal customers. And there seems to be a disconnect on businesses realizing the seriousness of that and how they go about repairing the problem. In some cases, many businesses mistakenly think that if some loyal customers leave, others will take their place. Depending on how in demand your business or products are, this might not be true. In the worst case scenario, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor says that far too many small businesses are losing up to 40% of their customer base each year.
So what’s truly missing from the business world today that causes these defections? With the obsession over customer service in many business circles, there may not be enough attention to it elsewhere.
What’s the Reality Behind Customer Service Obsession?
It seems that customer service is always being discussed and analyzed in the business world. While some top companies study every metric to ensure customer service is perfected with new techniques, there seems to be a strong contingent of businesses that don’t bother. Going by the Yahoo! business statistics, it’s the small business that likely feels customer service isn’t worth the extra time when budgets are tight.
According to Inc., many businesses are focusing too much on price wars and fixing functionality issues rather than working on customer service. Inc. provides this proof through a study that shows most people leave a business due to customer service issues rather than anything to do with price.
It’s certainly true that you can still walk into a small business and experience the worst side of customer service. This can come in rude employees or standing and waiting to be helped. It’s these issues that might seem to be a challenge to correct. However, that isn’t always the case with proper training and being astute to employees with winning personalities.
What Can Businesses Do to Retain Current Customers?
Even if it seems too late to bring back a formerly loyal customer, there’s many things that can be done to help retain customers that are sticking around. Regardless, even the departed customers can be won back if you still have their physical addresses or email. It can start by a business writing those customers and acknowledging customer service failures while promising improvement. This kind of honesty is already a winning customer service tactic that could win back any former loyalist.
Before getting there, though, the business has to find employees with good personalities. Mentioning this when advertising for hiring will probably turn up superior results. That’s because there’s far more people with winning personalities out there than the opposite. All that’s left for a business to do is to train the employee to respond to customers in the proper way.
Training may require hiring a professional service dealing in customer service procedures. While that might cost money, the return on investment will likely exceed the cost once customers regain the feeling of being valued and respected.
Yes, finding ways to truly value customers is the true secret customer service weapon. It’s going to entail occasionally giving free products away or doing something out of the ordinary as a thanks for their business. All of it is worth every minute of time to avoid seeing a glaring 40% customer loss number ever again.