Reasons Customers Dump a Company

“Stop selling, start helping.” – Zig Zaglar

When companies focus only on selling, and forget that their ‘relationship’ with customers is based on understanding and helping them, these would form the reasons customers dump a company. Simply forming a relationship with customers will not ensure the strength and length of the relationship – companies need to consistently maintain and manage the high (and sometimes unreasonable) expectations of customers. It is important for customers to feel that they share a unique, strong, sincere, and durable relationship with a company, but they also expect the company to respect their privacy and space. One of the top reasons that customers dump a company would be when they feel smothered in the relationship – where they feel like the company would be ‘invading their privacy’ and being too clingy.

Is your company giving customers reason to leave? What are the ‘sins’ that would make customers dump a company?  To start with, customers love to associate with companies that come across as confident and self-assured. They also love companies that give them attention. However, some companies get the concept of giving attention all wrong – continually checking with the customer as to how it can help, wondering whether the company did anything to offend the customer – and other such clingy and insecure behaviour would be one of fast track ways that customers dump a company. It suffices for a company to know their customers current needs. This is possible by tracking their buying behaviours, the actions they take, the messages they send, the interactions they have with a company, and gathering of other data and information that would paint a clear picture of what customers need and want from a company, and proactively have a solution ready. Instead of constantly sounding needy and asking customers what is wrong, it would be prudent for a company to assess the current situation, and proactively prevent any problems and customer issues.

As mentioned before, two of customer pet peeves are waiting and repeating themselves. They absolutely hate both and naturally, customers dump a company that make them wait and or repeat their history and problems each time they connect with a company.  To avoid both these problems, a company must train itself to listen. Its employees must engage in active listening and they should have access to technology that keeps every customer conversation and interaction on record. Investing in CRM systems would enable a company to log these interactions and customer issues (experienced across channels) in a centralized database, accessible to all employees who would need the data to serve customers. This way, each time a customer calls, the service agent would only need to retrieve the customer’s data and provide the relevant solutions and answers that the customer may have. With the challenges of customer service, attraction, and retention becoming more intense, the importance of business-wide customer data integration has become more pronounced. When customer service teams have an overall view of a customer, they would be better equipped to provide better service, and more suitable solutions that would address their needs.

It takes time and a lot of effort for a customer to find the company best suited to help their business, hence it is unlikely that the customer would want anything to go awry in the relationship. However, if customers dump a company, they would have a number of good reasons to do so. In today’s digital age, customers do not have much or expect too much face time with any company. In fact, they would be happier to maintain the relationship with a minimum number of interactions as long as it works beneficially for them. Customers feel ‘boxed in’ and stifled when the ‘partner’ company continually hankers for their time, or insists on too much ‘quality’ time with the company. It makes them feel that the company lacks the ability to manage the business and needs of the customers – enough reason to ‘break up’.

Another of the top reasons customers dump a company is when companies do not give due importance to their time. If customers call, it would mean that they do have something important and urgent to discuss, else they would not make the effort. If the person attending the call can provide an immediate interim solution, it must be done instantly. If not, it is unforgivable to place customers on hold (unless they expressly say so) and make them wait until someone from the company can find something useful to say. It is always acceptable to offer to call the customer back within a stipulated time with a solution. By respecting the customer’s time, a company would not only save the relationship but also enhance the confidence and trust a customer may have in a company. To reduce the need for customers to call, a company can put in several self-help tools that customers can access easily, and find answers to some low-end routine problems. Tools such as online discussion forums, live chat, FAQs, and troubleshooting guides, all help customers save time and access regular information as and when they require it.

Another of the top reasons that customers dump a company is when it makes all kinds of promises and does not deliver. If customers find themselves calling a company repeatedly for the same problem, it means that the company would be failing on several counts and could soon be on its way to ‘getting the boot’ from the customer. It is necessary to root out the reasons that cause the problems, never let customer problems go unnoticed, and ensure that the company does everything possible to prevent reoccurrence of the problem and related issues.

It may be true that companies have a lot of experience in the world of business, and especially in their chosen realm of operations. However, in the same world of business it is the customers who ‘call the shots’ and it is they who decide the fate of companies and businesses. While it may be acceptable for companies to share their knowledge and expertise with customers to help them decide better, it is unacceptable for them to put their customers and ‘fans’ down by trying to appear superior because of their know-how. The customers of today are well informed to take such high-handedness kindly, and would be one of the top reasons that customers dump a company.  Showing off knowledge to help customers may be acceptable – but doing so to make customers look ‘dumb’ would be one of top ‘cardinal sins’ of business.

As mentioned, companies must make the effort to stay close to their customers. Not literally, but by remembering their past buying history, understanding their preferences, suggesting items that might be of interest to them, and other such facts, which would enable a greater deal of customization in products and personalization of customer service. Not remembering these basic details is reason enough for customers to dump a company. Research shows that at least 64% of the customers that responded said that they do not feel special and valued when dealing with companies, while 65% said that it was frustrating for them to repeat information consistently about themselves – account information, service history, the problem the company is expected to resolve, and other such basic information.

There would be several more reasons for which customers dump a company, and it is the onus of companies to understand their customers better, to eliminate these reasons. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of retaining existing customers and ensuring that they continue to retain their confidence in a company. Losing one customer is usually never the loss of just one customer – it is a lot more and smart companies would not risk incurring the resultant losses arising out of one lost customer.

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