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Monday, April 7, 2014

Signs you're about to lose a customer and how to recover

By Roderick Brown

Losing a large customer can be tough, no matter what type of company you're running. However, if you can recognize the signs that you're about to lose a customer, then you may be able to stop them from leaving. Not only should you know and understand these signs, but you should also know what to do to create loyal customers that never leave. Here are some warning signs that you may be in danger of losing a customer.

Unresolved problems and passive aggressive behavior

A customer calls you with a complaint, and it doesn't get resolved. If a customer does not get their issue resolved quickly, they will begin to build a negative image of your customer service. The customer then begins to not call or contact you as often. This is your sign. A lot of customers, instead of confronting the issue multiple times, simply become passive-aggressive and look to take their business elsewhere.

How to restore the relationship

It is your job as the company representative to be sensitive to this behavior and either confront the customer in a diplomatic and sympathetic way, or to simply resolve the issue if possible and call the customer with the good news (and a small apology). Be honest, transparent and provide a real solution and before you know it, the situation has created a lifetime customer instead of losing one.
Customer relations
Good customer relations help preserve customer lifetime value

Understand it's not always about you

People are complicated and there are many factors to why your customer just complained about something they've been comfortable with for months before. It can be business related or personal and have nothing to do with your level of service to the customer or your business in general.

How to make your customer smile

If it isn't your fault and wasn't anything you did, don't waste time apologizing. Instead, go above and beyond to do something that makes their day. Send them a gift, write them an encouraging email, or anything you can think of to make them feel appreciated and special. Truly knowing your customer and building a lasting relationship with them is critical.

The grass is greener syndrome

This happens often. A customer will get a call or see a marketing promotion from another company and be tempted to go another way. The customer will leave without an explanation or if you are lucky, will call and ask if you can match the offer. Whether its a price promotion or some other benefit they are leaving over, remember these helpful tips.

How to make your grass the greenest

Remember that the customer has done business with you already and they were comfortable with what you offered before this other offer came along. Don't just give in and match the deal (unless you are running the same promotion) but instead reinforce why they chose you in the first place and help them remember why you are the right decision. If they can remember why they chose you in the first place, they will likely stay with you. Remind them as well that promotional offers are usually only for a limited time but your services and benefits last forever.

If you lose a customer

If by chance you do lose a customer, keep your head up. It happens and there are some reasons that are out of your control. For every customer you lose, you should reach out to your current customers for referrals and acquire two more. Turnover with customers is a natural part of business and it is your job to minimize it, not eliminate it. Focus on what you can do for your customers, not what you lost and you will continue to see growth that helps you build a strong customer base for years to come.

About the author: Roderick Brown is a freelance journalist covering general business and niche topics.

Image license: Steve Simple, CC BY-SA 3.0