The Top 3 Mistakes That Drive Away Customers

By Maryalene LaPonsie | Posted November 14, 2012

Customers can be fickle creatures, and figuring out what they want can vary depending on your particular industry or product. However, customer turn-offs are pretty much the same no matter what type of business you own. We look at three biggest mistakes that drive away customers, and we offer tips on how to stop the stampede.

3 Big Mistakes That Lose Customers – And How to Fix Them

1. Fail to Deliver as Promised

If you say your product or service does something, you'd better deliver on that claim. According to the Consumer Federation of America, top consumer complaints include misrepresentations and shoddy work in auto sales, home improvement, services and household goods. Make sure that you give your customers exactly what you advertise.

The Fix: Know your current service and product standards, and make sure that your promises are realistic. For example, if your warehouse averages five days to ship an order, don't promise deliveries within a week.

2. Communication Breakdown

Customers want to be able to reach you when they need you, and don't assume they all like to communicate the same way. Provide several different avenues for them to contact you. When a customer reaches you, make sure that your representative lets them know you care about what they have to say. A study conducted by Involve, a UK employee engagement agency, found that half of customers are likely to cancel a service if they feel that a company agent is reluctant to help them.


The Fix: Give customers multiple ways to contact you including phone, email, postal mail and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Template responses can be convenient time-savers, but form messages are rarely satisfying. Make sure that you can easily personalize your responses, and that your customer service representatives acknowledge the reason for the contact.

3. Neglect Current Customers

New customers are essential to business growth, but don't seek out new prospects at the expense of existing clientele. Data from the Gartner Group indicates a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25-125 percent. Unfortunately, many companies spend a lot of time promoting their services to new customers without thinking to reward those who have been loyal throughout the years. The result can be customers who feel unappreciated and take their business elsewhere.

The Fix: Offering free shipping and special discounts to new customers can be a good way to grow your business, but be sure to balance those promos with offers for existing customers as well. Consider a loyalty program, VIP sales or other special events to keep your current customers happy and feeling appreciated.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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