One Sure Way to Lose a Customer

Being successful should never be confused with remaining successful.
– Earl Nightingale

In today’s business place, if one is not careful, he or she will find it is easy to lose customers that they worked so hard to acquire. These hard-earned customers who were so expensive to attract, will simply vanish into the cosmos. How can this happen? The answer is simple, too many thuds.

A thud is whenever a customer comes into contact with some aspect of your business and has a disappointing experience. It might be the way they are put on hold for a long time when they call your company. It might be the way the person, who is answering the phone, treats them in a hurried fashion or it might be a problem with a product they have purchased.

A short time back, we purchased a Samsung refrigerator online through Home Depot. A separate delivery company delivered the refrigerator. The delivery and set up men did an excellent job taking our old refrigerator and installing the new one. Shortly after they left, my wife and I discovered a small bubble in the metal in the freezer door. It was clearly a malformation in the metal that happened during the manufacturing phase. We didn’t think that much about it until a few days later. Every time we would open the freezer door this imperfection was staring at us. A few days later we received a survey from Home Depot asking about the delivery process of our refrigerator. I answered the questions and in the comment section inquired about the issue we had with the freezer door. A response came back that recommended we directly contact Samsung’s customer relations department.

After three phone calls and going up the ladder of the service department at the Samsung company, we were flatly told (as stated in small print in the warranty booklet), that their policy is that they are not responsible for any blemishes on the refrigerator. Thud!!!

Let’s examine the myopic thinking behind Samsung’s policy.

First, according to Technical Assistance Research Programs (TARP), after a customer experiences a problem with your company, customer loyalty drops an average of 20 percent.

In other words, for every five customers with a problem, one will stop doing business with you forever. (I can tell you our next refrigerator, or any other product they make, will not be a Samsung).

Next, each of those five people will tell on average nine-16 other people about the bad experience they had with your company. Whenever another person hears something bad about your company, it is a form of reverse advertising. In other words, it will tend to drive people away from purchasing your products or services. This is not a good business practice.

Finally, interestingly enough, 95 percent of the time when a customer has an experience where they have a problem with your company and it is resolved in their favor they will remain loyal to your business and tell their friends and acquaintances about the remarkable company you are, according to research.

So, in summary, do an inventory of the thuds your customers experience when they attempt to purchase a product or service from your business. Come up with a strategy to prevent as many of them from happening as possible. Next, develop a formula to resolve the ones you can’t prevent. Resolve them in the customer’s favor and keep them loyal. It will pay big dividends. Guaranteed!