As it appeared in the Daily Nation on December 18th 2018
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu
Customers are at the centre of business success. Without them, it is impossible to run any business. Unfortunately, businesses are losing customers every day. When key customers choose to leave, the impact on the business can be colossal. In some instances, a business can shut down completely because it no longer has customers. Both the good and not so good customers leave for many varied reasons. Often, we are quick to point out that they have simply left to the competition. Though customers have a choice, they can choose not to leave. Here are some avoidable triggers of customer exit and what businesses can do about it.
Customers often feel that businesses do not understand them: Do you understand your customers? Do you understand their needs? When customers feel that a business does not really understand them and their needs, they can choose to leave to another business that is more understanding. To understand customers’ needs, listen more to what the customers have to say and to how they feel. Once the customers’ needs are well understood, choose to provide services and products that meet these needs. In addition, stay in touch with the customers, assess their satisfaction and take positive action.
Most businesses do not connect with their customers: Customers like to feel good about those they do businesses with. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to connect with their customers. Some customers feel that the business only wants their money. Others feel that the business does not really care and as a result, they become detached from the business. To connect with customers, have their best interest at heart, make them an important part of your business decisions and never forget to make them feel wanted and appreciated. Without understanding customer needs it is impossible to connect with them.
Staff send customers away: The main trigger for customer exit is a poor staff attitude. Such an attitude simply makes customers feel unwanted. Customers are quick to identify both a positive and a negative attitude. A negative staff attitude sends customers right into the hands of the competition. A positive staff attitude towards customers, towards their organizations, towards each other and towards the products that they sell is vital. Business leaders must therefore take positive action towards curtailing a culture of negativity and stimulating positive vibes in their business. Every staff needs to take up their individual and collective responsibility to prevent customer lose. Without the commitment and involvement of every staff, it is impossible to hold on to customers in the long-term.
As the marketplace becomes more competitive, smart businesses need to be intentional about holding on to their good customers for life. Businesses can only successfully do so if the leadership puts customers at the centre of their businesses’ existence. Without loyal customers, it is very expensive to keep looking for new customers to keep the business alive. If you have been losing customers, it is time to reflect and take some action!
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy