Why do customers leave your business after one or two transactions, never to return? This question can plague businesses of all types and sizes.
It's often easier to acquire new customers than to retain them. Luring first-time buyers with a special up-front discount, for example, can be effective to build interest in your products or services. In other cases, promising a money-back guarantee can also draw significant interest.
All too often, however, after that initial excitement, customer interest can wane. Here are a few key reasons for customers choosing not to repeat business with your company:
1. Without a discount, they aren’t compelled to come back. Some customers don't understand the "exclusive" nature of that first discounted offer. As a result, businesses may opt to feature a special savings on their offerings on the customer's second or third buying experience.
2. Your products or services are just like everyone else's. Without given a reason to think otherwise, customers may assume that what you provide is a commodity they can find anywhere else. Nothing in your product's features or benefits differentiates it from any of your competitors. In such cases, a factor like price is what customers remember — and that's not always enough motivation to keep them coming back for more.
It's up to you to clearly highlight your differences and advantages, be it a higher quality product or service, or exceptional customer service. In a crowded marketplace, every business risks being perceived as a commodity. It takes round-the-clock attention to set your business apart.
3. A customer doesn't feel special. Speaking of customer service, how special do your customers feel during and after that initial transaction? Consider doing an email survey or use another online venue to determine the quality of their buying experience. Provide an exclusive next-purchase offer to encourage responses, but also ask for honest replies. If complaints arise about how a customer was treated, you can begin to address the problem as soon as possible.
How can your business counteract these negative trends?
Get feedback. Successful businesses routinely invite feedback through surveys, social media activity, and even asking customers in a physical setting if they found what they were looking for. When a complaint or suggested improvement comes in, they take swift action to consider refining their offerings in ways that generate more customer satisfaction. When customers feel listened to, they may be more likely to come back to your business in the future.
Reward loyalty. Institute a loyalty program to draw first-time customers back to your business. Offer exclusive discounts, news about product upgrades, and other perks that demonstrate appreciation for their business. With a customer’s explicit approval, feature their compelling customer success stories on your website. You may even consider sharing testimonials and giving these customers some free publicity in return.
Hire employees who put the customer first. As part of the hiring process, focus on a job candidate's previous experience in dealing with customers. Pose different scenarios and find out how they would respond to a disgruntled customer, for example. Look for individuals who demonstrate a keen sense of empathy and provide further training to enhance that trait. You'll have the advantage of a quality workforce dedicated to taking care of your customers.
Why do customers leave? There are always reasons for a first-time customer not to come back. But by making key improvements in your messaging and customer service, you can reverse that trend and cultivate a legion of satisfied customers eager to spread the word about your business.