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Warning Signs That Your Customer May Be Heading Out the Door

Thursday, May 03, 2012   By Mike Reddy


Rarely do customers provide notice of their intention to take their business elsewhere.

So it’s important to learn to recognise some of the warning signs early - You may save yourself the headache of losing a customer.

Often communication will start to slow down. Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System to track communication with customers so you can become immediately aware of a lull or break in correspondence. Reactivate the relationship by sending a personal email, making a phone call or even stopping by in person.

You may notice that your discussions are focusing more on your prices than anything else. Consider a special offer or re-examine your value proposition to ensure the customer understands the value of your solutions.

A customer may show a lack of trust and begin questioning the quality of your product of service. Gain as much information as you can into what specifically is causing their dissatisfaction. Devise a strategy to tackle the issues and present this solution to the customer.

A customer could become difficult to contact. Excuses such as ‘’too busy’’ or “they are on the phone” become the norm. Get face-to-face with your customer. You may be able to salvage the relationship if you go the extra mile.

Late payments may signal dissatisfaction. Make the call and if cash flow is an issue consider offering payment plans and other options that may alleviate this problem. Involve us as your business advisor in this process as it’s important you are aware of the limitations of just how much you can give away.

The best warning sign is to receive regular, in-depth customer feedback. This insight will give you the upper hand in tackling issues and, if acted on, will result in better client retention.

Devise a checklist: Do you and your colleagues arrive on time for meetings? How often are phone calls ringing through to voicemail? What is the average time it takes for a customer to receive a call-back? How often are you in touch with your customers?

Continue to ask the right questions and take pre-emptive steps to avoid losing customers over time.

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.