Perhaps you’ve noticed some of your customers have begun migrating away from your product or service. Is this normal in the course of business? Or is it time to send an SOS?
“I think this happens all the time,” said Nile Kirec, a specialist in public relations, strategic marketing and branding. “Sometimes we feel we have little or no control, but that’s not true.”
Often, it’s a sign the business owner has stopped paying attention, added consultant Shelly Bernal, a marketing and international trade specialist. “We can’t afford to not have the same level of enthusiasm that we had at the initial stage of our business.”
It’s time to re-introduce that customer-centric mindset. What do your customers say about you? What are your former customers doing instead? Often, Bernal said, businesses are having conversations with customers about transactions or complaints, but are not having those probing conversations with customers about what is pleasing them as they had in the early stages of their businesses.
If a customer has migrated away, find out why.
“Go deeper than price – that is generally not the case. That’s an easy way for customers to tell you,” said Bernal, a consultant with Florida SBDC at FIU, the small business development center within FIU’s College of Business. It could be that the customer wants more features or technology or more convenience in the customer service area.
Of course, you don’t have every customer for life and there are many reasons why a customer moves away, said Kirec, who also consults for Florida SBDC at FIU. But the way a company deals with it makes all the difference.
If it is not because of an external reason, the company needs to ramp up quickly and address the issue, whatever it is, to stop the bleeding. Steps include making sure the customer journey is right, and if not, look, find and immediately try to change what’s not, she said.
And when you lose a customer, learn from it.
“Selling a product isn’t just a numbers game, it’s a shifting game. You need to understand that to stay ahead of the curve and grow,” Kirec added.
“Listen to your clients, even the little things that they bring up. Ask them what you can do better.”
Perhaps the loss of customers is signaling a larger change in the marketplace? We’ll get into that in the next post. Stay tuned.
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