Why Do Customers Leave?

Do you know why customers leave? And some, even before they ever ‘come aboard’?

The biggest single reason is the way they feel they’ve been treated.

Not the way they’ve actually been been treated. The way they feel they have been treated.

“Customer service” and “Customer Relationship Management” have to be way more than trite phrases or marketing-speak to help you convert and keep customers once you attract their attention.

Here are three very different examples…

Years and years ago American Express sent me a letter inviting me to become a customer. I was naive, flattered and delighted and happily applied. I was turned down.

To be fair, it was in the early days of direct marketing in the UK and they probably got their profiling/ targeting a bit wrong or the list they bought wasn’t quite up to scratch, I wasn’t earning enough, I may even have been legally too young to hold their card – whatever – the single fact I remember is that they invited me then refused me.

I have no idea how many missives I’ve received from American Express in the intervening years entreating me to join their ranks of customers and I’d guess the company has no idea that every single one of them goes straight in the bin or why. Whilst I am probably slap bang in their ideal target market nowadays and have been for many years, it is highly unlikely that I will ever be their customer because I remember that feeling of being made to think I wasn’t good enough.

My mobile phone

I’ve been with the same mobile phone air time supplier for years. I realised recently that I’d had the same mobile for rather a long time and other people’s phones seemed much more whizzy than mine, with more features and definitely more 21st century looking. Actually, if I’d bothered to get my head round what’s on my old faithful I’d probably have found it was pretty advanced for its time, but that’s another story…

So I decided to upgrade and that’s where the trouble began…

I nipped up the road to a local store to see what my options were and that’s when I realised monthly payment had been taken out of my account that day – so another 30 days to decide phone, plan, etc – plenty of time. I thought I remembered that with the previous upgrade I’d got a better deal by going direct on line so thought I’d suss that route as well. That’s when I discovered that it would be an ideal time to renew… just switch from the current to the new payment plan from midnight and get the new phone the next working day…

We are eleven days on from that fateful day and, although I have a new contract (that differs from what I agreed to by phone in three major areas) I still don’t have a new phone that works – I’m still using my trusty old Pebble…


I had a phone call from the company’s Customer Services department yesterday (Sunday) from a guy who, unfortunately, was in possession of just one of the 3 emails I’d sent to their complaints department over the previous nine days (on top of countless telephone calls I’ve had with various representatives).

Poor s*d really came in for it a bit… :-( I wasn’t rude but I left him in no doubt that I was less than impressed with the service I’ve received thus far and would switch suppliers in a heartbeat if there was another with as good coverage.

He’s already promised to put right the three major discrepancies on the agreement in my favour and is due to phone me back this afternoon to sort the matter out for good. So we’ll see whether the company takes this classic opportunity to turn around a complaint and secure me as a loyal customer for another few years or lose me to the competition in 20 days time :-)

One person who got it right! This wasn’t the company, it was purely down to one individual.

I popped into the tanning shop on our High Street the other day and fancied a ‘lift’. I knew I had some time in credit from a block I’d bought ages ago but fell out of the habit of using.

Turned out I had quite a lot but it was from over a year ago and therefore wasn’t valid. Gang on a minute – there didn’t use to be a time limit… An employee showed me a card with T&Cs on it and there it was in black and white – any treatment or batch of treatments have to be taken within 12 months.

But I wasn’t informed – and, as my custom over time predated their computer system (which they’ve now had for a few years) I’m fairly sure it predated their current T&Cs too!

I recognised one of the employees and she me and she said “Go and have your treatment, we’ll sort something out.” I came back to the reception desk thinking that I may have to do battle only to be informed by the lady I knew that they’d restarted my credits from that day and the time would now be valid for a further year.

Now that‘s service!

How do YOU compare?

Do you often get it wrong from the off? Do you lose good customers because you don’t make them feel wanted? Or do your customers love you to bits and recommend you to everyone who may need to your products or services?

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2 Responses to “Why Do Customers Leave?”

  1. Dick Wooden says:

    Yes one person can make a big difference in a business as to whether a customer stays with the business. Several times I only return because the customer experience was enjoyable. Building a customer focused business starts with this true belief in a customer centric business philosophy. As a business development consultant and implementer of CRM, customer relationship & management systems, too many times a business needs to refocus on the importance of knowing their clients better. And building these principles into their way of doing business better.

  2. Anita says:

    I think it’s so important to make our customers feel valued. I certainly value them :) I still do a little happy dance for each order I receive, and when I receive a lovely email saying how much they enjoyed buying a card/gift through my website. It’s the fact that a customer chooses to place their trust in me as I design and make a card for their occasion makes it a lovely business to be in :)

    My problem is that I have found that some customers have had people ask them where they got their gift / card from etc… and their reply is that it was made for them, often forgetting to mention that they can get one too – (lol) I am working on a way around this.

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