Most businesses are good at measuring “satisfaction.” They survey, question, inquire and pursue feedback on comment cards. They ask
questions, audiences answer. They analyze results in metrics that gauge satisfaction and performance. But what about what your clients are NOT telling you? Sometimes, the loudest feedback is silence.
- Why did your favorite accounting client change CPAs?
- Why did your insurance customer choose another carrier?
- What led your favorite coaching client to sign up with another consultant?
- Why are your customers ignoring your “Open” sign?
While assumptions, suspicions and guesses are plentiful, we often miss the most obvious: Just ask “why?”
I recently switched insurance providers. I had been with my previous agent for more than eight years. Her service at first was impeccable – responding to phone calls the same day, proactively lowering my rates, providing advice regularly. Then, as her office grew, my phone calls were returned less frequently and the advice was less supportive. When I was introduced to a new agent – whom I bonded with quickly – I made the decision to switch.
My former agent got the notification of termination on my policies. Her response to me was, “I’m glad you found lower rates elsewhere.” I could have easily gone away, with her none the wiser. Instead, I shared some of my reasons for the change with her (not focusing on the customer experience I had expected… and enjoyed for years prior) and wished her luck.
Often when clients and customers leave, we assume we know why they left. Instead, it would be so much more powerful – and we might even retain the relationship! – if we express interest and the willingness to learn and grow from the experience.
Some questions to consider asking as clients leave you:
- Was there something we could have done to keep you as a client?
- If your situation changes, would you be willing to consider giving us another shot?
- As we make improvements to our process, may we contact you again and try to earn back your business?
Obviously, the best advice is to put processes and systems in place to avoid having your best customers leave you. What are some of your strategies to retain clients and customers?