If you find yourself struggling with customer retention, ask yourself these questions:
My wife and I once went to Marrakesh, Morocco. We were there for five days. For four nights, we went to different Moroccan restaurants to experience the real deal in Marrakesh food and culture. For the first meal, we asked at the hotel for their recommendations for the best Tagine in town (Tagine is a Moroccan ‘stew’ featuring lamb, rice, vegetables and aromatic spices all cooked together in a clay container in a low heat oven).
When we went to the first restaurant, we sat down and the waiter immediately brought us warm towels to wipe our hands with – followed by menus. Pretty simple decision (we thought). We were not that hungry so we simply ordered two lamb tagines. Simple price too. Both dishes were listed for about $12 each.
The waiter leaves and comes back with a tray of raw vegetables and hummus dip. Cool. It was delicious. Next he brings out some soup. I protest slightly by saying that we did not order the soup. He smiles and replies that it is included. The tagines arrive and they were amazing! After dinner, tea and sweets arrive without notice.
Long story short, I ask for the bill. It arrives. The total… Over a $100! I protest. The waiter explains that “yes, the tagine was only $12 each however, the other courses were also $12 each and then there is a service charge.” I explain that we did not order the other courses. He says they were included. Can you see where this argument is going? Argh!
Frustrated, I pay the bill and we leave. Believe it or not, each of the following 3 nights, there was some sort of similar ‘shake-down’ at each restaurant we went to. Unbelievable!
The 5th night, we went to MacDonald’s.
The point is that at each of the four restaurants featuring authentic Moroccan food, there was some hidden annoyance that left a very bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended). These are extreme examples, however things like this happen all the time, and they make your customers angry. Sometimes, so much so that they just quit (and go to MacDonald’s).
86% of customers quit – Wow! Can you believe it? 86 out of 100 customers that are unhappy, on average will just walk away. Only 4% will tell you why. Most of those customers will go on to tell a minimum of 20 other people about the experience (I just told hundreds in this blog).
On the other side of the balance sheet, 80% of customers are willing to pay a higher price providing they feel they are getting value for their dollar and they “trust” the business. Of those customers, 78% will go on to tell positive stories about their experience and the business.
Get good – really good at understanding what you do that brings customers to your business and, more importantly, why they come back. Embed it deep into every crevice of your company. Discover what pisses customers off and fix it. Discover how to identify repeat customers and embrace them. Harvest their testimonials and referrals. Turn them into your very best advertising apostles.
Or, you can let customers quit and eventually, there will not be any customers.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, partner at Incrementa Consulting Inc., #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.Customer, Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Satisfaction, It's Already Inside, Retention, Robert Murray, Robert S. Murray