Three ways to lose your customers

It doesn’t matter whether you are a small, medium, or large business; customers are key to your success. So why is it that all too often we look at product or pricing rather than people? And why do we spend so much time and effort in trying to attract new customers, sometimes at the expense of existing relationships?

New or existing, there are some golden rules which businesses would be well advised to follow if they want to attract new customers whilst not losing sight of existing relationships. Breach these and you may well be on the way to a falling customer base. So where do businesses go wrong?

Make people feel un-wanted

Let’s start with the prime golden rule of treating others in the same way as you would wish to be treated yourself. So why do some businesses make it difficult for people even to get in touch? When you call and call but no one picks up the phone, when you are held in a seemingly endless queue whilst being told that your call is important, or when repeated requests for a return call go unanswered then the message is clear: quite simply the business doesn’t care about your custom.

If that is not the impression which you want to give perhaps it is time to take another look at your business telephone set up. Are calls being rooted around the office to ensure that someone picks up the phone? Are automatic phone diverts in place to take account of people being absent from their desks? And is there a defined process in place for replying to answerphone and other messages? It doesn’t take much, but a few simple tweaks could transform the way in which your business communicates with its customers.

You lose people in a maze of complexity

Research by Studio Graphene revealed that 59% of UK adults would leave a business’ website within thirty seconds if it was ugly or hard to navigate. Add in the businesses whose website you can’t even find and those which are giving out unclear signals about what their product even is and that’s a substantial amount of business lost through carelessness or thoughtlessness.

But it’s not just websites which can be hard to navigate. Telephone systems which offer callers a range of options can be extremely effective if they are carefully planned; a nightmare if they aren’t. Planning requires building an understanding of the likely caller and designing routes accordingly. Businesses which take things one step further and also design a caller select module to automatically route regular callers, or callers from a specified area, to their desired destinations can not only simplify the caller experience but also demonstrate that they value existing and potential customers.

Your message is un-clear

When businesses are trying to open up a communications channel with customers there is another area to consider and that is the business telephone number.

The phone number you choose can say a lot about your business. Do you offer local, national or international services? Are you so happy to talk to people that you will offer a freephone number or are you going to charge them for contacting you by opting for a premium rate telephone number? Choosing the right telephone number, or range of telephone numbers, to suit your business offering can be the first step in attracting callers.

In conclusion

So yes product and pricing is important but if you really want to make an impact then take another look at your communication channels. Your telephone system isn’t just a tick box ‘have to have’ element of your business offering. Rather, how it is structured and design could make a measurable difference to gaining and building a customer relationship.

Written by Alison