7 Warning Signs Your Customers May Be Deserting You


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Customer Service Centre

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You come into the office one morning, and within minutes, your stomach starts to get queasy. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but something is wrong. Are you losing customers, especially best customers?

Before Sales starts grumbling and the CEO comes by for an explanation, look for these 7 key warning signs that you may be losing customers:

  1. Revenue is increasing. but margin is falling. One of the key symptoms of a change in your customer base toward newer customers is a decline in margins. This is particularly true if you offer “starter discounts” only to new customers.
  2. Sale products sell well, but “core items” under-perform. Repeat customers purchase core items. If sale items dominating your communication, then you may attracting too many infrequent discount customers.
  3. Service procedures tightly control how to resolve customer problems. Empowerment is critical to solving customer service issues. If you limit solutions, you limit creativity and customers (and your staff) start to feel locked in a box. The staff stays, dispirited. Customers leave.
  4. You have high customer-facing staff turnover. Sometimes your staff leaves as well. Companies with high employee retention tend to have high customer retention as well. The converse is also the case. New employees slow things down and make mistakes until they come up to speed.
  5. The company concentrates heavily on managing field labor costs. A focus on limiting customer-facing staff in order to manage costs limits customer experience. How many staff does an Apple store have? You may not be able to staff to that level, but if you do not test staff “heavy-ups” you will never be able to quantify any benefit.
  6. Customer marketing focuses only on driving the next transaction. If all you send to customers is “sale, sale, sale,” then you train customers that they should wait until the next hot deal before returning. What you train is what you get, and if you train repeat customers to think of you in terms of price, then they will price-shop you to death and go elsewhere for a deal.
  7. You blast email and direct mail with little differentiation. Treat your customers as if they are all the same, and they will feel just that. If you do not communicate to them in a way to fits their needs, they will simply stop listening. Not only will your response rates drop, but customer loyalty as well.

Rate yourself on a 1-5 scale for each one of these factors. A score of 25 or above is strong, a score of 18-24 is average, and scores below 18 suggest you may end up needing TUMS, a revised resume or both. Focus on these factors, and you will not only control your business, but your career as well.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Price
Mark Price is the managing partner and founder of LiftPoint Consulting (www.liftpointconsulting.com), a consulting firm that specializes in customer analysis and relationship marketing. He is responsible for leading client engagements, e-commerce and database marketing, and talent acquisition. Mark is also a RetailWire Brain Trust Panelist, a blogger at www.liftpointconsulting.com/blog and a monthly contributor to the blog of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Marketing Association.


  1. I agree with all of your warning signs, but I would like to add a point to number 7 about communicating with customers. It is critically important that businesses take the time to determine what kind of information their customers want to receive, as well as the preferred method to receive that information (voice mail, e-mail, text messaging, social media, etc). Once businesses have the information, they can engage with customers in meaningful ways and provide relevant, timely solutions to customers' problems and needs.

    Businesses also need to communicate with customers on a regular basis and provide a channel for continuous feedback. That level of engagement shows you care about customers and you value their business. In return, customers will look to businesses as more of a partner than a vendor, which will lead to greater satisfaction and loyalty . . . and lessen the chances of having them desert you.

    Thank you for the post.

    Scott Zimmerman, President of http://www.televox.com


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