8 Reasons why your business is losing customers

20 min read
Bitrix24 Team
January 12, 2024
Last updated: January 16, 2024
8 Reasons why your business is losing customers

The customer is the life source of any business, no matter the industry. The loss of customers is a quick path to failure, a concern that many business owners are keenly aware of. In a world where choice is abundant, standing out is more challenging than ever. So, how do you ensure your business isn't just another option, but a preferred choice?

In this article, we'll explore the main reasons why your business might be losing customers. We’ll also give you recommendations or methods you can use to retain customers. There are tools that you can use to aid in customer satisfaction and retention. Let’s dive in and find out how you can keep your customers coming back for more.

Keep your customers, keep your business

Losing customers can stem from a handful of reasons. Whatever it may be, seeing your customer pool get smaller and smaller can sometimes feel personal. It gets a little more difficult if you initially set out to make customers happy and loyal to your brand. However, when customers leave, it’s important to look internally to understand why.

Most of the reasons for losing customers can be worked on. If done well, you can see your customers growing in numbers. Take note, though, that it takes a concerted effort to improve your business processes for the sake of customer retention. This includes the rest of your team, whether they’re customer-facing or not. Here are some of the reasons why your business is losing customers and what you can do to make things better.

1. Lack of quality control

As business owners, we like to think that our teams are always up for the job and are knowledgeable enough to carry on. We make the mistake of simply “leaving them to it”. This means not conducting regular quality checks and imposing rules and regulations of customer interactions.

For example, you may provide training at the start of their employment that covers customer satisfaction and exceptional service. The training will eventually be buried under established routines and complacency. This is why regular quality assessments and coaching sessions should be put in place. Each and every customer-facing agent should sign off on quality and corrective action agreements. Once you start carrying out quality checks and notice repeated infractions, you can apply corrective action measures to correct the behavior.

While you’re at it, conduct regular checks on email and chat templates to make sure that everything is as it should be. If you provide assistance to customers via phone, get contact center software that has quality assessment features. You can then assess recordings for any customer service issues and remedy interactions that could have gone better. The object is to never let up where customer experience and business reputation are at stake.

2. Poor customer service

Customers have high expectations of your company from the first contact. They approach your products and/or services with the hopes that they have found a brand they can be loyal to. However, they expect their business to be rewarded with exceptional service and customer satisfaction. Customers expect to be attended to as soon as they reach out to businesses especially if they have customer service issues.

This is where the disconnect most of the time occurs. Most small businesses do not have 24/7 support. You don’t have to, actually. What you do need, regardless of the size of your business, is a contact center available round-the-clock through which they can reach you. They can be some, if not all, of the following:

  • A contact form where they can leave pertinent details along with their customer and order information

  • A knowledge base that customers can use to find answers on their own

  • A Contact Us page with your email address, phone number, and hours of operation

  • Widgets for chats (live or bots, alike)

The key is to let your customers know that although you will not be able to cater to them at the moment, you will, and soon. Give them a timeframe and do what you must to meet that timeframe. Making them wait longer than necessary can turn a small issue into an even bigger problem.

Reasons why your business is losing customers


3. Insufficient transparency and honesty

The buyer-and-seller relationship is built on trust. You can’t have trust if you’ve been caught out. Although a great portion of customer interaction is nonverbal, they can always tell if you’re not being transparent or if you’re being dishonest about something. It’s not worth it to lie about or keep something to yourself and risk losing customers. People generally appreciate honesty even if it means they will be inconvenienced for a while.

For example, you’re selling clothing and you run out of stock. Send out an email blast to impacted customers right away instead of making them wait. Don’t make them send you an email, asking where their order is before letting them know what’s happening. When it comes to orders, shipping, or refunds – anything that has something to do with the customer’s money and time – be upfront. You can’t risk negative customer feedback by keeping the truth from them.

Bitrix24 is the best CRM for professionals!

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4. Not setting the customer’s expectations

If you want to avoid losing customers, the surefire way is to under-promise and over-deliver. In a way, you will be surprising your customers especially when it counts. Knowing what you’re capable of delivering will create a sense of customer loyalty and business consistency. This means setting realistic customer expectations from the very beginning. Some of the ways you can do this are:

Timeframes: Give them definite estimations in a language that is easily understood like –

“3 to 5 business days”

“Within 24 to 48 hours”

“On November 10th before the end of the day or 10 PM”

Pricing strategies: Don’t trap your customers with zero or low signup fees and then spring the surprise of exorbitant fees without a way out. Let them know what they can expect especially when it comes to prices.

Sales processes: Can they change an order once it’s placed? Can they get a refund right away? What can you do for them if they use the wrong address on their order? Be upfront with what you can do and what they can expect even after an order has been placed.

Open queries and requests: These may be out of your hands, but you can be an effective and efficient liaison between your customers and your suppliers or couriers. If you don’t have the answer from them straightaway, keep them updated until you do. This way, they’ll know you’re still on the case and working toward a resolution.

Not setting the customer’s expectations


5. Inability to listen and pay attention

You can’t have any hope of providing your customers’ needs if you don’t listen to them. If you want them to have a great customer experience, make a conscious effort to really listen. Believe it or not, customers also know if you’re really paying attention to them. Nothing can be more disappointing from the perspective of a consumer.

Listening means a lot more than just minding the words being said. It entails paying attention to the speaker’s tone, inflection, and words being used. Someone could be saying a set of words but their tone and whole demeanor can be conveying a different message. It’s up to the customer care specialist to key in and listen to the actual message.

When listening, listen to understand instead of finding ways to talk back and formulate an argument. Doing the latter eliminates the essence of what’s being said. This, in turn, will make the customer less likely to engage in calm, professional, and polite conversation and it all ends up as an argument. Listen to customers with the aim of resolving their issues. You’ll win back your brand reputation by being better overall in the end.

Steer clear of losing customers by turning frowns upside-down with empathy and by building rapport. Empathy is understanding and sharing the thoughts, feelings, and points of view of the other person. Rapport is sharing a connection by finding similarities with the person you’re speaking with as well as using humor and trading compliments. Use these skills to avoid conflicts, create a positive atmosphere, and establish a common ground.

6. Failure to communicate effectively

Do you ever feel like you’re not saying the right things? Does it sometimes feel like you’re losing control of the conversation? Have there been times when you feel like nothing you say is helping? If you’re losing customers despite your best efforts to talk them out of quitting you, it could be because you’re not communicating effectively.

Here are some clues that you might be suffering from this problem:

Overusing jargon – Remember to limit corporate speech for the conference room, among colleagues. When speaking with customers, keep your language simple and easy to understand. Use short sentences and words that are familiar.

Assertive comes across as aggressiveCustomer service sometimes means being able to balance firmly with politeness. Especially when we’re declining a request and explaining why, we can sometimes come across as aggressive. Consciously use a level tone, pace your words evenly, and remain calm instead.

Failing to notice non-verbal cues – Pacing, tone, pauses, and gestures all contribute to how a message is transmitted and received. You’ll know if the conversation is likely to become a little challenging and should be attuned to non-verbal cues from the start. This way, a little sigh or a pause of frustration can urge you to jump into action or try a different tack instead of losing customers altogether.

Communicating effectively comes down to keeping it simple. Clear, concise speech and messaging eliminate the mess of miscommunications and misunderstandings.

Failure to communicate effectively

7. Not being flexible enough

Life happens to one and all and, sometimes, all one really needs is a little help. Especially given today’s economic landscape, customers need businesses that understand them better and are willing to adapt to their changing needs.

What does it mean to be flexible? Here are a few examples:

  • You’re accepting cash-on-delivery orders. One customer informs you that they will not be able to receive their order because the delivery ETA is before or after their payday. If you’re able to, offer to adjust the delivery ETA to get it closer to their payday.

  • Your customer is traveling and will be unavailable to receive their delivery. Offer to have the courier leave the parcel at the nearby post office instead. This way, the parcel will be waiting for them safely when they return.

  • The customer doesn’t want the courier to leave the parcel at the door and risk losing it. Suggest that they ask a trusted neighbor to accept the delivery instead.

  • The order has been processed and will be shipped soon but the customer needs the money and is asking to cancel instead. If you’re able to, you can cancel the pickup directly with the courier. Once confirmed, you can issue a refund to the customer.

There are a lot of other ways to show the customers you care for them and understand their circumstances by being flexible. Although it may not be favorable or profitable for your business, a little kindness goes a long way. Word of mouth can do a lot to boost a business’s revenue and reputation. Keep in mind that customers who have canceled can always come back and purchase anytime.

8. Being caught unprepared or untrained

Nothing can be more embarrassing than when it becomes apparent that the customer knows more about the company’s processes and procedures than you. For example, they call in, wanting to change the size they ordered or their shipping address. You tell them that you’re unable to make changes once the order is placed. They let you know that your FAQ states that you are in fact able to as long as the request to change is received within 8 hours. After some exploring, you find out that they are correct.

There may also be times when you’ve forgotten to set up for the workday ahead. You will then have no other choice but to ask the customer to wait while you look something up or root around for the specific tool you need to assist them. You’re unprepared which can also be interpreted as unprofessional or untrained for the job which can aggravate the customer. Being on your toes at all times can be tiring but not when it helps the business to dodge losing customers. All it really takes is having the headspace to anticipate their needs, being one or three steps ahead to envision the resolution to their problems, and looking for alternatives to grant their requests.

Business systems evolve over time just as customer needs do. As a business owner, manager, or team leader, you can’t afford for your team to be left in the dark when it comes to updates and resources. Build a reliable and well-maintained knowledge base that everyone in your team can consult whenever they need to. In the same manner, store all the pertinent work files and guides in a central drive that everyone can access when necessary.

BONUS: Interacting with customers as you and not as part of the company

When you’re communicating with a customer, understand that you’re representing the company you’re working for. Your language, the solutions you offer, and how you carry yourself overall should echo your company’s mission and vision. When you’re on the clock, you’re an extension of the business, a part of the organization.

Having this mindset helps keep on professional, polite, and levelheaded, even when faced with an irate customer and being difficult on purpose. It’s easier to deal with challenging people when you understand that it’s not about you. It’s about the business and the reputation of the company you work for. It’s about not losing customers but keeping them happy instead.

Keep customers loyal with the right tools

Address customer service issues and gain customer loyalty by using the proper tools. They are easy to acquire, too. It’s as easy as signing up to work with Bitrix24, your all-in-one solution for everything concerning your customers. Whether it’s assisting them with their requests, answering their queries, and resolving their concerns.

Set your team up for success with all the tools they can possibly need to help your business avoid losing customers. Sign up today to enjoy the features and benefits of Bitrix24.

Bitrix24 is the best CRM for professionals!

Create a fully transparent collaboration space to see each customer and your history of interactions. Know for sure where you stand

Get Started

FAQs

What are the most common reasons businesses lose customers?

The most common reasons businesses lose customers are:

  • Unprofessionalism
  • Low-quality products and/or services
  • Sub-par customer care
  • Dishonesty
  • Lack of flexibility
How can businesses improve customer retention and reduce churn?

Businesses can improve customer retention and reduce churn by:

  • Listening to clients
  • Delivering quality products, services and customer service
  • Providing continuous staff training
  • Conducting regular quality checks
  • Communicating properly with customers
How does poor customer service impact a business’s bottom line?

Poor customer service can impact a business's bottom line through:

  • More complaints
  • Negative reviews
  • Unfavorable brand reputation
  • Failure to attract new customers
  • Lower revenue
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Table of Content
Keep your customers, keep your business 1. Lack of quality control 2. Poor customer service 3. Insufficient transparency and honesty 4. Not setting the customer’s expectations 5. Inability to listen and pay attention 6. Failure to communicate effectively 7. Not being flexible enough 8. Being caught unprepared or untrained BONUS: Interacting with customers as you and not as part of the company Keep customers loyal with the right tools FAQs

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