Looking at the customers you have lost is one of the best ways to measure how effective or ineffective your customer service is. Too often, I see businesses looking at their existing customer base to try to determine this, which is kind of like asking a student how he liked the test he got an “A” on. Ask a different student who failed the test, however, and you will get an entirely different answer.
The trouble with looking at your existing customers to gather insight about your operation is that they feel your company is doing well. That is why they are still with you. Obviously, they like what they are getting and are going to be more inclined to let little irritants pass them by.
You might be asking the right questions, but you need to be sure you are surveying the right population. If you are asking your satisfied customers, you are not going to uncover where your problem areas are.
A good friend who owns her business recently asked her staff to look at the customers they had lost over the last two years. As she compared these customers, she found that the 20 businesses they had lost were all small in terms of sales during that time period.
Since this was a systemic problem in this business, the owner had to first decide if she wanted to go after these smaller accounts. If she did, she then had to figure out what she could do differently to address these complaints.
Analysis showed that these smaller accounts could amount to a sizable number of sales, so the owner decided they were important to keep and nourish. Her business had spent a lot of time getting these customers, and she knew this effort would pay off as these customers grew.
Knowing who her former customers were allowed this entrepreneur to find out what needs were not being met and make the necessary changes to her operation. She established a better process for recording notes about her clients’ businesses from each service representative and a way to make sure that
Now go out and see if you can find trends among your lost customers, and do not be afraid to call them. This is the only way you can get honest information about why they left. With this insight, you can put a plan in place to address these issues so you do not keep losing customers for the same reasons.
You can do this!