The easiest way to grow your customer base is to not lose any customers.
I know, pretty obvious, right?
Still it’s so easy to just focus on new possible customers and take the ones you already have for granted. The importance of holding on to your current customers can’t be pointed out enough. Whether your coaching company focuses on endurance sports, corporate wellness or nutritional planning, it’s the same for everyone. This article discusses why you could be losing your customers and what to do when a customer is unhappy.
5 reasons why you lose customers
This list can without a doubt be made twice as long here. Individual clients can leave for a numerous of reasons. But let’s focus on the most common ones.
- Attracting the wrong kind of customer
You might think that you want to attract all possible customers. But this is actually not the case. You only want to attract the right kind of customers, or the other way around, deter the wrong kind of customers. A coach that doesn’t want to lose any clients.
Spending valuable time and resources on nurturing relationships that won’t go anywhere is simply bad for your business. Wrong kind of customers require several times more time investment than other ones, and they’ll probably not be satisfied anyway. And let’s not even mention the emotional exhaust it takes handling this.
Attracting the wrong kind of customers can fairly easily be avoided by clear communication. Which leads us to the second reason why customers could be leaving.
- Your description of your service does not match the service you offer
It’s pretty simple, if you’re not receiving the service you expected, you’re going to be unhappy. When describing your products and services, be clear with what it contains. Don’t try to overpromise things, it will just come back haunting you.
If you find out that the customer misunderstood your service, try to solve it as quick as possible. It doesn’t have to mean that you automatically lose the client, even if that might be the case.
Try to align expectations with your customers on a regular basis.
- Customers motivation
For a person to do something, there need to be some kind of motivation behind the doings. Since we are coaching people, they need to have motivation to continue doing what you prescribe them.
Probably the person had motivation when deciding to hire you. But motivation can and will change. Motivation changes typically occur after either significant life events or extended periods of the same daily activities.
Coaching remotely can make it increasingly hard to identify a discouraged client. As a coach you should try to give motivational support through communication. Talk with your clients and ask them what forms of communication help motivate them and connect with you the best.
Sometimes, clients hire coaches out of fear instead of inspiration, and in this case you shouldn’t blame yourself for not being able to create the motivation they need. Know the reasons behind why they hired you, and work with and around that.
- Not nurturing the relationship
This reason is probably the most common one. At the very beginning of the relationship, when you are just getting started, coaches usually put in large efforts getting that prospect to be a customer. But after a while, the attention and the efforts provided to the customer slowly fades away, because there are new prospects that needs it more.
This is a bit ironic, since the effort it takes to replace a customer is far more demanding than retaining a current one.
Usually, when a customer is about to leave, there is very little contact between customer and coach. Customers who don’t take contact are usually the ones that are unhappy. As a coach you need to be alert to these people. You’ll be surprised how little effort it actually takes retaining these customers. A text message once a week or a phone call here and there takes you a long way.
Try to keep a clear and honest communication with the customer and ask for feedback about your service. A lot of people won’t give you feedback unless you ask them to. Especially if it’s more of a non-positive kind of feedback.
- Changes in the customers life
Changes happen and peoples life situations changes. Some things you just can’t do anything about. You might have done everything the right way but you still lose the customer.
Maybe you did such a great job that you aren’t needed anymore?
And if you did a great job, the customer will surely return to you if your services are once again needed.
How to act when a customer is unhappy
Quite often dissatisfied customers don’t complain. They just walk away, and you’re left wondering why. So if a client expresses their unhappiness to you whilst they are still your customer, you’re in luck.
An unhappy client.
Customers that leaves either don’t know how to complain, don’t bother to do it, are too frightened to do it or then just don’t believe that a complaint makes any difference.
A customer that leaves without telling you why is a big problem. Even if they aren’t telling you, they will surely tell someone else. And here is where the real damage can occur.
With having social media as such a big part of our lives, it’s so easy to spread a complaint. And even if you would have one hundred great reviews, a single bad review often tends to be more contagious and can also drive other unhappy clients to react as well.
Great customer service protects your business from negative mentions.
We mentioned that you are lucky if a customer expresses their unhappiness to you. That’s because now you really have a chance to make a difference.
Unhappy customers provides honest information about your business, information you need if you want to improve and stand out from your competition. There is no better way to improve your services than by the feedback from the ones who are actually using them.
Make sure that you give the customer time to talk, and remember to listen! Don’t start to disagree with them, that will never have a good outcome. Ask the customer what they think would be a fair solution. Show them that you really care. If you are willing to do what ever it takes to make it up to your customer, they will probably realise it and your unhappy client might even convert into being one of your most vocal advocate.
Don’t hesitate to give them a reduction of your price. A reduction on one billing is far much better than loosing the opportunity to bill them at all.
The tactics above should hopefully give you some fresh ideas for approaching unhappy clients. But do remember, your products and services will do most of the heavy lifting in keeping your customers loyal, and there are no shortcuts for that.
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