Friday, August 19, 2011

What Makes Customers Leave?

This is the last blog relating to the survey of 250 customers that responded to a survey regarding the purchase of consumer electronics that was conducted by Infinite Field Marketing of the UK. My two previous blogs on what gets customers in the door and what keeps them need a final chapter. This final chapter will focus on what makes customers leave or break their loyalty. The last part will answer the question of what would it take to keep a customer that is ready to leave.

When the question was asked what would cause a customer to walk out the door the answers were:
1. About 48 percent responded that negative contact with the staff was the primary reason.
2. The second most important reason (24 percent) was the store was too busy which made it difficult to find staff and products.

These results track the earlier results that kept repeating the mantra that customer service plays a primary role in dealing with customers.

When the survey took the next step and asked what would break a customer's loyalty the two primary reasons were:
1. About 70 percent said that bad service would be the reason, and
2. 21.5 percent said poor product knowledge.

Here again the primary reason that customers are saying they would break their loyalty to a company or store would be the result of customer service.

There is a logic that follows these results that suggests that bad service not only leads to lost loyalty but also leads to negative word-of-mouth which in the long run can lead to the demise of the company.

The final area of interest is the question of what can a company do when the customer is ready to break their loyalty and leave. In other words, the question is what is the best way to deal with a customer who is ready to leave. The survey yielded the following results:
1. About 40 percent thought that a discount would be appropriate, and
2. 28 percent said that an apology would be sufficient.

Although there were a number of other comments, there appears to be no significant pattern in them.

The bottom line that comes from this survey of what brings customers to you, what makes them happy and why do they leave has a consistent theme; namely, that customer service is very important and may be the strongest driver for business success.

The two questions that everyone who reads this should consider are:
1. Is good customer service a company policy?
2. How much is the company willing to spend to support this policy?

Experience has shown me that companies often think that initial customer training is sufficient and no refresher training is necessary. This is fallacious thinking.

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