February was the month of ‘LOVE’ so I thought I’d open this month’s issue by focusing on your customers, clients or patients. More importantly, why we need to make them feel ‘LOVED’! (it was timely while I was preparing!) On average, and for a variety of reasons, most businesses will lose between 10% and 20% of their existing customers each and every year. Customers come and go. It’s simply a fact of life. Some of the reasons for customer attrition are unavoidable but others are in the complete control of the business. Interestingly, according to a recent survey by the Sales and Marketing Executives International, customers stop buying for the following reasons:
- 1% die
- 3% move away
- 5% develop other friendships
- 9% leave for competitive reasons
- 14% are dissatisfied with the product or service
- 68% leave because they were treated with indifference, disrespect, apathy or neglectful behaviour on the part of employees of that business organisation with whom they interacted
But what is good news is that 82% of a business’s customers leaving because they are unhappy is not good news in anyone’s book. Because 68% of people leave through indifference, with a bit of ‘handholding’ many of these customers wouldn’t leave in the first place, and those that do can be ‘won’ back. As a business, we work very hard to keep our clients happy. We’re not perfect by any means but we focus on every interaction we have with them and make sure at the very least they are happy with the outcome. We also regularly tell them we appreciate their business, and when they refer people to us, we say ’thanks’ and send them a gift. There’s more we do, but I can tell you from my own experience that once you get a customer it’s your job (and the job of your team) to make sure you hold on to them. It’s not difficult to ‘love’ our customers, as long as we don’t forget . After all, even a loved one needs telling how much you care every so often!