The success of a business is not measurable only in the form of profits and return on investment; rather, it is more about customer satisfaction and retention in the long run. The competition in every domain is humongous today and one word that is a nightmare for every business owner is churn. Simply speaking, there is nothing worse than losing your customers to competitors. And this is something you can expect to happen unless you are far ahead of the competition.
This is because customers are fickle creatures, being both easy to lose and hard to win over. Obviously, it makes sense for businesses to unearth the reasons they may be losing their customers and strategize to prevent this from happening. While catering exceptional products is important, the key lies in providing excellence in services and support. Fortunately, technologies such as cloud telephony, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have huge potential when it comes to fuelling client satisfaction and ensuring retention in the long run.
But the first step still is to find the basic reasons why you may be losing them in the first place. Let us highlight the most common ones.
Below-par customer service
Consumers value knowledgeable staff and efficient service more than anything else. They dislike being kept on hold and getting rude service, while automated phone menus are also frustrating for them. If your business lacks on these fronts, you are most likely to lose your customers to competitors. Surely, businesses must pay attention to delivering the highest levels of customer service. The most effective way to address this concern is by relying on cloud communication that takes the traditional phone-based customer service to the next level.
A cloud telephony solution is a smart investment because it ensures consistent availability and seamless communication. Further, it reduces the hold times of the callers, which translates into better satisfaction levels. Additionally, a typical cloud telephony service integrates features such as IVR and missed call solutions that also play a significant role in boosting caller experiences.
Absence of customer engagement
Customer engagement is a vital aspect of long-term retention. Keeping the clients engaged with your business ensures that your brand is fresh in their minds. While you can expect them to be back again with this mindset, they are also likely to recommend your business to family and friends. Winning the engagement game is easier than ever in the era of social media. At the same time, you need to adhere to the conventional initiatives such as print advertising and online marketing to be visible.
The idea is to come up with a different approach that relies on innovation to create engagement. For example, your competitors may be leveraging technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to deliver compelling experiences to the customers. Similarly, they could be leveraging Artificial Intelligence for immersive interactions. You need to identify such disparities and address them effectively by using the right tech solutions.
Not rewarding customer loyalty
Another reason why you may be losing your customers to the rival firms is that you may not be rewarding their loyalty. Sales tactics can be highly challenging in the current environment and you need to think beyond the ordinary to impress the buyers. Small businesses, in particular, have to be extra smart with their marketing strategies because they have limited marketing budgets and resources. Rewarding loyal customers emerges as an effective sales technique and drives customer retention as well.
It is common for organisations to focus more on client acquisition rather than retention, which makes loyalty less valuable for them. Instead, setting up a loyalty program is a smarter approach because it requires less hard work yet delivers better results faster. The benefit of such programs goes beyond retention as it also encourages loyal customers to propagate your business with positive feedback and bring in more people with word-of-mouth marketing.
Inconsistent quality of customer service is a killer for a business, whether it sells products or services. A company that fails to maintain the same quality across all its products and services at all times paves the way for buyer exit. Another vital aspect to ensure is uniformity and predictability in the entire customer interactions they undertake.
Take a closer look at your product development approach and make sure that you are doing enough to differentiate your products in terms of value. Also, verify the performance of your service and support team so that you can discover the weak links. Training the existing staff and onboarding people with a fresh mindset can do the trick.
Inability to adapt with technology
When you are in a competitive landscape, not keeping pace with industry-prevailing trends and technologies is the biggest mistake you can make. Technology is an integral part of every business in one way or the other. Whether it is point-of-sale systems, mobile application availability or integrated online customer service platforms, you need to go above and beyond to ensure that your customers get the best.
Investing in the latest marketing initiatives such as Virtual Reality-based advertising can take your campaigns a notch higher. Similarly, you could implement a smart Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution to take customer services a notch higher. The higher you are on the ladder, the greater are the chances to stay ahead of the competition.
Lack of personalisation
One thing that customers detest the most is being treated like everyone else and this is perhaps the biggest reason to abandon the brand they otherwise rely on. Therefore, you cannot risk using generic, pre-fabricated responses to their queries and complaints as this approach completely turns them off. The best and most dependable approach is to bring personalisation in the way to connect and communicate with them.
Companies must bring personalisation in every single interaction and treat every customer as a unique individual. You need to train your customer service representatives to deliver the best possible responses, while following the pre-defined guidelines to enhance the customer experience. Having virtual assistants or AI-powered chatbots is also a good measure as these software programs are capable of understanding the intent of the customer and resolving their concerns accordingly.
Non-reaction to reviews
Customer reviews matter a lot because they make you aware about what customers think about your business. While positive ones provide a dose of encouragement, negative reviews are an opportunity to improve your weaknesses. However, it is difficult to keep up with every single review left for your business. Still, ignoring them is a bad idea as it can result in loss of even the most loyal customers.
Keeping a close track of reviews and responding to them helps in retention in the long run. Dealing with reviews in a positive and professional manner is vital, even if customers have unfavourable things to say. Argumentative tones, on the other hand, only escalate such situations and may even end up destroying the reputation of your business.
Competitors are better
Though a lot has been said about your shortcomings that could lead to loss of customers, the reason for losing them could be as simple as the competitors being better than you. Consider it as a call to action, a threat that indicates that you have no option that to be better than them. If you are not taking initiatives to improve, you cannot assume that your competitors aren’t doing it either.
A closer look at the rivals can help you identify their strengths and your shortcomings, which can be valuable inputs that you can use for reinventing the wheel. Obviously, they are going the extra mile to retain clients and their business is probably more innovative, accessible and convenient. You need to cover up to ensure that customers stay with your brand rather than make a switch.
Now that you understand the probable causes of customers ditching your brand for others, the next step is to identify the one that is responsible in your case. You may ask a few questions to pinpoint the same:
● Why are my customers leaving me for my competitors?
● What could I be doing wrong?
● Is it my product or service?
● How can I enhance the level of my customer service?
● What steps can I take to improve retention in the long run?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you will probably understand why your existing customers are abandoning your brand and moving over to the competitors. The solution lies in covering the gaps, whether they are in the product or service quality. Further, a careful and critical evaluation of your existing tech infrastructure matters a lot. Whatever efforts you make, they will be worthwhile because they are likely to deliver benefits for the years to come.