Losing customers every now and then is normal. But when do the warning bells go off? And more importantly, why? The reason is probably not what you think!

There probably isn’t a manager, salesperson or sole trader who doesn’t want to keep their existing customers. Still, there are few who go to the root of the matter when a customer abandons them. Perhaps you’ve thought at one time or another, that “they probably went to a competitor instead” and then focused on elucidating your welcome offer to new customers? Without really knowing why the previous customers left? If that’s the case, you’re about to find out why!

5 poor excuses for why your customers leave you

The reasons why somebody abandons your company differ of course from person to person. But in general, the following five reasons are highly unlikely*:

The customer dies (1%)
The customer moves (3%)
The customer looks for alternatives or develops other connections (5%)
The customer goes to a competitor (9%)
The customer is unhappy with the product or service (14%)

To “blame” any of these five reasons seem pretty pointless, don’t you agree? And it’s even more hopeless to take preventive actions in order to retain more customers.

*Source: U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The actual reason why your company loses customers

But if it’s not the competitors who attract, nor your company’s offer that drives away the customers, then why are they abandoning you? Because they feel ignored, that’s why! It’s about how you and your colleagues treat your customers, rather than the quality or uniqueness of what you sell, that determines whether a customer stays or not.

Sounds wacko? It’s not, if you think about it. What I mean is, products and services are more and more alike – the quality is high and the price competition is fierce. This means that the customers perceive the alternatives as more or less equivalent and choose their supplier with their heart. Not their brain!

The remedy? And when is it time to start the treatment?

So, the secret behind reducing customer churn is working on customer relationships. Be more attentive and sell more to your company’s existing customers, simply put. It’s a lot cheaper (about one fifth, according to a survey by Forrester Research) than acquiring completely new customers.

One piece of advice is therefore to redirect some of the sales activities in the “uncharted territories” to the existing ones. Less hunting, more nurturing: keep your promises, surprise positively and be easy to deal with. And all you have to do is to start taking notes!

But how do you know when you need to start making these efforts? And how many customers is it “normal” to lose? First of all, I would like to point out that it impossible to not lose any customers at all. But at the same time, Swedish companies are generally not good at making the most of the potential of existing customers – the main focus is on finding new ones. So if you and your company don’t put emphasis on upselling, cross-selling, and customer care, try it! You are guaranteed to see results.

Good luck!