As it appeared in the Daily Nation on February 6th, 2018
Every smart business desires to hold on to its valuable customers for life. Unfortunately, not many businesses are able to keep their customers year in year out. Many businesses tussle with customer inactivity and attrition. Some customers only come back once in a while others never come back. For such businesses to survive, they have to be on a constant look for new customers to replace those that leave. This means that businesses spend heavily on their sales and marketing efforts. Therefore, a vital setback that every business needs to interrogate is why customers would choose to discontinue the use of a product or a service. Why do some of our customers go away never to come back? Why do they stop using our products and services?

There are many reasons why customers never come back or stay dormant for extended periods. There are customers who move away from the neighbourhood, others no longer have the purchasing power, and others simply get attracted to the competition. However, such customers form a minority. Study after study shows that the main reasons why customers never come back or get attracted to the competition revolves around how they feel about our businesses. How the customers feel is largely dependent on the quality of their interactions and the value they derive from a business. Customers with a strong emotional connection with a business and those that believe that they are getting value for their money choose to stay even when times are hard.

I believe that negative experience is the number one reason why most customers choose never to return. These negative experiences are largely because of poor staff attitude towards the customers and towards their organizations. Poor staff attitudes are reflected in how the staff perform their tasks and in how they communicate with one another and with customers. An ignored email, unanswered phone call, a slow cashier, indifferent waiter, a rude nurse, an apathetic barber, a complaining staff etc. all send out a signal to the customer. When customers feel unwanted and unappreciated, they can simply choose to go elsewhere.

Poor quality products and services is another main reason why customers never come back. It is likely that all of us have purchased a product or used a service that we found to be below standards. When the quality of a product or a service is questionable or falls below expectations, customers feel that they are not getting value for their money. In such a case, the customers may complain of high prices or they may simply choose to move on.

Smart companies focus on customer retention and customer engagement as a top priority. Such companies are intentional about providing their customers with positive, painless, and seamless experiences. Creating and delivering value to their customers is at the centre of their operations and they constantly seek creative ways to remain relevant. Smart companies keep in touch and find out how their customers feel about their products and services. They take the customers’ feedback with the seriousness it deserves and use the it to continuously improve their people, products, and services. If you want your customers to keep coming back, take some positive action to improve the customer experience and to deliver value to the customer!

Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy