Friday, July 27, 2012

How to Keep the Customers You Already Have

Note: Today I am pleased to share a guest post written by the National Business Research Institute (NBRI). They have over 30 years of experience in conducting scientific, psychological research for businesses. NBRI clients include Walt Disney World, Marriott Hotels, Oracle, and Waste Management.

Companies spend millions of dollars to attract new customers, only to lose them by providing a poor customer experience. Have an effective process in place to evaluate why customers leave if you don’t want them to fall through the cracks. You must understand why customers leave to prevent others from doing the same.

Here’s an example of how a loyal customer (me) left a company because of a poor customer experience:

I had been taking my two dogs to the same veterinary practice for 5 years. All of the vets were nice and paid extra attention to my dogs by giving praise and plenty of treats. I really liked them until...

My boxer, Bella, had been playing in our neighbor’s backyard, and about an hour later, she was completely covered in bumps. She behaved normally, but she looked bizarre. So, I called our vet. It was about 3 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon.

The person who answered the phone said that none of the vets were in. I asked him what I should do, and he failed to give me an answer. He said he didn’t know and that I could “Google it.” Instead of doing an Internet search, I called another vet. She was able to see Bella right away. Luckily, Bella ended up being just fine (it was an allergy to some fertilizer that she got into). But if I hadn’t taken her to the other vet in time, it could have been a lot worse.

Given the lack of help at my old vet, I haven’t gone back. I now take my dogs to the vet that was able to help Bella right away. It has been awhile, and I have yet to receive a phone call from the old vet to ask why I have not returned, even though my dogs have been due for shots and exams since then. I would have gladly explained what happened if they would have bothered to ask me. The practice could fix the problem and prevent it from happening again, causing another customer – or more likely, customers – to leave as I did. They may have even convinced me to come back had they given me a good reason. The truth is, the vets I used to take my dogs to were great. However, one person ruined the customer experience.

You can gain valuable insight into why customers are leaving with customer loss review surveys. How can you improve if you don’t know what you did wrong? Once you find out why a customer is leaving, you can attempt to salvage the relationship. If it is unsalvageable, at least you can prevent the same poor customer experience from happening again.

It takes a lot more time, effort, and resources to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one. You can help your organization address problem areas and leave the days of customer defections behind by instituting a customer loss review program.

Many thanks to NBRI for sharing their expertise. NBRI offers comprehensive full-service research solutions when it’s time to deploy employee surveys or customer surveys. If you’d like to learn more about their services, please visit their website, view an online survey demo or download their free ebook on “How to Conduct a Survey."

2 comments:

  1. Thank you Annette,
    The problem in many cases is that customers tend to tune you out if they have had a bad experience. What kinds of incentive would the vet have given you to come back to them? Do financial incentives like free consultation or vouchers/discounts work with annoyed customers?

    Regards
    Ateeq

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ateeq. That's a good question. I'll pose it to the author of the guest post and ask him to answer.

      For me... an explanation, a corrective course of action, and perhaps one chance to show me that I am a valued customer and you know how to show people that you care about them and their pets.

      In the scenario in the post, I'm wondering if the vet even knows that he called. The person answering the phone can't give medical advice, but he is a representative of the business and needs to act accordingly. He likely doesn't love animals or have a stake in the business. An animal lover would help another animal lover! This is where hiring the right people makes a huge difference.

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