If there is one thing that businesses can easily fall flat on, it is their relationship with the customer. We need to prioritise customer engagement, but gradually things become deprioritised, especially when we think that we need to keep seeking out new and interesting customer groups. But it’s always worth remembering that if you’re not engaging with your current customers, this can slowly lead to a gradual dissatisfaction with what your business offers, which means that they will eventually leave you behind. Here are some common ways businesses can start to lose their customers:
Lack of Personalisation
If there is one area that our businesses can all benefit from fine-tuning, it’s personalization. We can treat customers as generic groups of people rather than understanding individual preferences and needs. If we incorporate tools like customer relationship management software (CRM), we can gain a far better understanding of our target market.
This works in so many different industries. Even fire contractors can utilise fire safety software in the form of a CRM to better engage customers on an individual level. We have to remember that those customers have to feel like we are speaking to them on a one-to-one basis. If we don’t prioritise personalisation, they will slowly catch on to the fact that we are treating them far too generically.
Communication covers so many different disciplines but when we are sending mixed messages this can easily cause our customers to lose interest or feel a sense of disconnect. If we send communications all too irregularly, and bombard customers with successive messages, notifications, or emails, we are also forcing customers away but also we will leave them eternally frustrated with your business.
When we talk about communication we have to get the balance right based on who our target market is. Some customers benefit from daily emails, others absolutely hate the idea. Some customers like receiving emails but others want a letter through their door. Communication is something that we on the business side of things think is critical and therefore there can be no such thing as too much. However, if we are inconsistent with the needs of our business and our customers, invariably losing trust, we will have to fight hard to get them back. This is a very difficult road that may require rebranding or altering your marketing practices completely.
A Poor Product or Service
As obvious as it sounds, if you are pushing a product or a service that does not meet your customer expectations you are going to disengage them very quickly. A fantastic marketing campaign does not make up for a poor product. When we deliver a great service, we have to ensure that those customers have their expectations met. You should always underpromise and overdeliver.
However, a bad product is going to linger far longer in the minds of those customers and can easily take the form of bad reviews or your customers are going to give unsavoury opinions of your product and by proxy your business on social media. Making sure that your product or service is up to scratch before you start figuring out where you should push it towards will invariably result in a more satisfied customer base and there will be far fewer problems for you to contend with in the form of poor customer feedback or complaints.
Being Too Complex
If there is one acronym that we need to keep repeating, it’s KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). If we are complex in numerous areas of our marketing or how we run our business we’re going to discourage customers from ever engaging with us. There are still people who believe that complexity is the best way to win the battle.
You might think that using more complex terms or opting for more technical wording is an amazing way to bring the right type of person into your business but you could very well be doing a disservice to your target market because you are alienating them in this respect. Likewise, complex procedures in terms of purchasing or returns can stop those customers from ever bothering you again. How many times have you made it to the payments page, only for something to go wrong? We can want to engage with a business but something that stops us from doing it will invariably result in a “once-bitten, twice shy” attitude. We have to avoid the complicated nature of doing business because we will only get a very small patient part of the market to come to us.
A Lack of Transparency
The most important part of getting a customer to engage with us is the fact that they should trust in our abilities to deliver. If we do not practise the fine art of transparency either through our policies, pricing, or changes within the business, customers will slowly lose trust in what we can offer. Transparency becomes an essential behaviour that we need to embed as part of our culture. Transparency is not just for the sake of the customer, it is for the sake of the business as well.
If you have a customer engaging with the contact centre but the customer service agent is not knowledgeable enough to give the customer what they want because you’ve not been clear with rules, procedures, and practices, this will not just alienate the customer but it will also cause problems with your customer service agents. Customer service staff can often feel like they are the frontline and therefore you have to give them everything that they need to deliver great customer service. The problem is we very seldom do so. Transparency is such an essential aspect of how we can deliver great service to customers and great customer service.
Ineffective Customer Service
As we’ve already touched upon, if you are not delivering great customer service, this will erode any sense of trust. There are so many ways businesses can deliver terrible customer service through unhelpful support or slow response times but it is the untrained staff that is the black hole of poor customer service. Ensuring that your staff has an understanding of the organisation will help them to deliver on the frontline.
Customer service staff can easily not have an insight into the big picture. Therefore, if we underdeliver in every aspect of our customer service, a customer will use their experience to colour their overall attitudes. A customer can easily leave a business behind because they waited too long on the telephone. Great customer service is hard to come by in the modern world and therefore ensuring that you can give customers a variety of methods to engage with the business, greater autonomy to solve certain problems, as well as ensuring your customer service agents understand how to solve problems.
Ignoring Customer Opinion
Organisations can easily become single-minded with regard to how it delivers to customers. We can think that a customer falls into a very specific group of values, attitudes, and behaviours. But this means we aren’t treating them as individuals. We’ve already spoken about how not personalising our customers can be bad for business but if we fail to listen to each customer’s complaint or feedback they will be frustrated and distrusting of our business. It’s important to have a process in place so you can give customers their say but also implement customer feedback so their voices are heard.
We should provide feedback in a number of different ways. We can refer to the post-sale feedback approach but we can also welcome feedback as part of our ongoing determination to be a better business which we can then implement as part of our marketing. Lots of businesses think it’s better to ignore feedback at the outset. Others embrace feedback but choose to not actually implement it. The real solution to keeping customers engaged is somewhere in between. We have to remember that as businesses find their feet, customer feedback becomes the most essential aspect of helping an organisation to deliver to those people who need it most but also ensure those customers are satisfied in the long run. We must remember that ignoring a customer is very dangerous. This is why we should reward loyal customers through the opportunity to win things based on giving feedback or giving them something for free. If we don’t reward loyal customers, they will invariably explore other options.
Customer engagement is not just about finding the ways you can get noticed online. It’s also about remembering that, as we progress as a business, we don’t just look to short-term solutions but recognise that having a customer on our side is the most important component that will stimulate an effective working relationship. We think that businesses can easily profit as long as they have their marketing and product in place, but we have to look at how businesses stimulate those relationships with customers. Customer retention is a massive thing and these are a handful of ways in which our business can lose a customer forever. Ensuring that you can deliver to your customer what they need is not just about how you promote, but about how you propose to build an amazing relationship with the people who matter most.