Have You Lost Customers This Year?

One of my clients has, and this is what I advised:

1. Measure your loss

Until you have quantified the cost of lost customers you are unlikely to do very much about it. But once you do – it could be the only marketing that you do for a given period of time – because once you understand what you are losing you realise why chasing after new clients is like pouring water into a leaking bucket.

How can you measure whether customers are leaving you? Of course this will depend on what or how you sell – but one simple way would be to take a list of your top 20 or 100 customers (by spend) last financial year and compare it to this year’s spend. Are there any names missing on this year’s list? Are there any significant decreases in spend which might indicate that although they are still buying some things from you they have decided to take other business elsewhere.

Talk to your sales people, reception staff – anyone who would have contact with customers and ask them if they are aware of any customers who have let them know that they are ‘leaving’.

Keep a record of any customers who notify you that they are leaving – and make a note of the lost revenue in each case.

2. Understand why customers leave

A look at the common reasons that customers leave is enlightening and reveals a startling picture. Most customers leave because they have no reason to stay…NOT because they have a reason to go.

Do you know why you are losing customers? Really why, not just the fact they have gone to a competitor – chances are you’ll never really know if they are leaving because of indifference. So you need to plug up this hole first before you worry about the one’s who have been lost because you’re competitors are aggressively making offers or providing better products.

3. Talk to your customers

If indifference is the biggest reason customers are lost, it generally means they haven’t heard from you for 6 weeks or more.

The good news is that you can of course do something about the most common cause of lost customers. You can talk to them, write to them, make them offers, ask their opinion and generally show that you want them as a client.

Lots of businesses spend thousands of pounds producing new brochures or websites and forget to tell their existing customers about them. There are any number of reasons (or you might say excuses) to contact your customers. All it takes is a simple system – to diarise the contact, to draft up a message and to administer the mailing.

Have you found out why a customer has left you? What was the real reason?

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