The Art of Losing Customers Kent
The Art of Losing Customers
When I sat down to write this article I was considering some of the topics I’ve covered over the last 5 years and I couldn’t help think that the article I wrote back in March 2002 was just as relevant today as it was back then. Unfortunately my experience as a customer hasn’t got much better – and I suspect I’ve also (as we all have) become more demanding of the firms I buy from or approach.
Now might be a good chance to reconsider how your business handles customers. Have you changed in the last four years – or could your systems and processes, your marketing tools and your approach to customer service be improved at all?
Let’s take you back to March 2002…
Last week I called a firm of accountants to ask if the could help my business. The receptionist took my name and a few details and put me on hold whilst she tried to find someone who could help. After 30 seconds she was back on the line. She asked if I was already a client. When I said no she explained that the person I needed to speak to wasn’t available. OK I thought – she’ll offer to take a message or at least tell me when he will be available. I paused, held my breath, nothing. I even gave her a prompt, “I might call back”, I said. Nothing.
So that was that – no offer to take my number and get someone to call back or advice on when I might call and whom I needed to speak to. As you can imagine I didn’t call them again.
Now the real tragedy is not so much the conversation and poor service I received and the fact they lost a potential client. No, it’s the fact that I chose this particular firm because they regularly advertise, they have a strong presence and my perception was of a reliable but forward looking firm who would be able to offer the kind of service my business needed. Worst of all they had clearly invested a lot of time and money into their website to further raise their profile. A site that was well thought through, contained useful information and photographs of key personnel, very professional, even personal, or so I thought until I submitted an enquiry via their website and received no reply.
Unfortunately this firm isn’t alone. Businesses all over the are losing customers and potential contracts in exactly the same way – and it’s careless.
Common mistakes and how to avoid them:
Adverts placed and staff not briefed to handle response
Worse still - no one being available to handle phone calls and visits that are generated from the advertising activity.
The solutions are simple.
Make sure you communicate with everyone in the business if you are placing adverts, not least because they like to know what’s going on and often feel motivated by external advertising and promotions. And of course, be absolutely clear on how enquiri...