What to do if customers do not buy?

pexels-photo-355988.jpegLet’s imagine a situation where Company A asks an offer from Company B for their services. Company B sends their best possible offer to Company A, but eventually they decide to buy the service that they need from Company C. How often has this happened to you and what did you do?

In this kind of situation you can either leave it or you can take a look at the whole picture and ask yourself where did you possibly go wrong. One option is to ask Company A why they chose to buy from someone else instead. Clearing this out will help you to improve your business and maybe even make Company A return when they notice that you care about your customers’ opinions. So, how do you make such enquiries politely and without getting the other party’s guard up? Here’s how:

WHY?

Customers are the ones who bring you the profit, not you or your staff. Understanding customers’ needs is essential – not just because they bring the money to the company – but also because it gives you an advantage over your competitors. No one else knows better than customers themselves what they want. And who ever does the best job in listening to their customers wins the market share.

Talking to and thanking customers who bought something from you is important, but asking “why” from the ones who did not buy from you should be at least at the same level. It could be that they did not like the product, price, selection, customer service or maybe you did not interact with them enough. There are a million different reasons, but you cannot know for sure unless you ask. Assuming that one of the aforementioned issues was probably the reason why they did not buy sends potential customers straight to your competitors’ door.

By asking the customers “could you please elaborate what was the reason that made you go for our competitor’s offer instead of us” will help you to meet customers’ needs and improve your own business. Of course, asking ten customers, who decided to not buy from you, and getting ten different answers will not lead anywhere, but if four or six out of the ten customers name the same issue, maybe you should take a look at that particular aspect of your business/offer and think what you could do differently, better. The more satisfied your customers are with your services and products, the more likely it is that they become your loyal customers and recommend you to their colleagues and partners.

SOLUTION

So, how should you ask this easy question from the customers who chose to go with the third option instead of your offer? The answer is easy; by asking them for feedback. But this takes time and effort. Also; you need to know how to ask the right questions. You do not want to waste your own or the customers’ time with irrelevant questions, which do not provide you with any further information, and thus risk the chance of getting any responses at all. A good option would be to outsource the feedback process to an external survey company that has the resources to create a survey with relevant questions that fit your company’s needs and make the interviews to the customers who slipped away from you.

Here are the two best ways to gather feedback:.

You could create your own online survey. Creating an online survey is an easy option for you to set up and analyze, and it gives a chance to the current as well as potential customers to decide when they want/can answer. The survey could be sent to them by email or you can set it up into your website where everyone can complete it whenever they want to give you feedback or explain what qualities they look for in a cooperation partner.

But if you want to ensure a larger number of answers and to reach people directly then phone interviews are a better option. Making a phone call to your customers has higher survey response rate than online surveys, and what would be a better way to find out what your current customers as well as the lost customers think about your company and your ways of doing things than by talking to them? Also, human contact affects how the survey questions are answered and makes the respondents trust you. On the phone you can ask follow-up questions from the respondents, which helps you to get a better overview of their thoughts and ideas. That way you get more detailed responses which can help you to have a clearer idea of how you are doing as a company.

However, all of us know that most of companies do not have enough time to call all the customers that chose to go for another company’s offer instead of yours and sit all day on the phone asking questions. This is the point when research and consulting company steps in and asks the questions for you. Outsourcing the service to specialist in this field saves you time and gives you high quality analyses. All you need to do is to let the specialists do the work for you.

Ensure Success – Up the Ante with Customer Relationship Management

Service organizations are now spending day and night striving to maintain superior quality of service with the effort of gaining loyalty from customers. Have you ever looked at your competitor’s service and wondered whether they are doing things better than you? Customer relationship management has appeared frequently in many books and articles, it is one of those phrases that you cannot escape from hearing in business today. While people are putting more emphasis on the digitalization of the world, some may attribute that Customer Relationship Management is a way of computerizing your business, or a series of tools and techniques. Yes, customer relationship management has to do with new technologies nowadays. And the competitive edge has to be paid with sufficient investment of time and money.  In its simplest form Customer relationship management is an attitude, and mindset, a value that you place on your business and its relationship with its customers. So if you want to make sure you are doing better than the next player in the game, CRM might be the leverage point with which you can differentiate your business from the others.

Why does CRM help?

Remember the leaky bucket? It is a very common way to explain the role of CRM. Companies are way too busy with trying to reach new customers when they should also put efforts into maintaining their current customer base. So, you end up putting customers in a leaky bucket rather than preventing them from leaking away from you. Competition is high in all markets so approaching a new prospect is more costly than retaining the customer one already has. Satisfied customers who frequently come back should receive more attention from you than the new customer who just came and bought your services as a tryout. Still, we do not mean to discourage businesses from getting new customers, how else would a business be able to grow, right?

68% of customers change product or service providers because they feel they do not receive enough attention and care. Good management of customer relationship helps companies treat customers as individuals rather than groups. CRM can go deeper to analyze or to study customer behaviour with the best produced products and services. Assumptions, which are based on previous experiences and cultural factors, that one carries about customers will also become more explicit.

Controversially, people say that at some point when the cost of retaining customers is higher than acquiring a new one, the leaky bucket actually works best. The author personally believes that all companies will be in such situation at some point. However, the only way to recognize that moment is when the companies invest more in customer relationship management and a CRM system.

Benefits of using a CRM system:

Is CRM system basically all about contact management? Well, actually CRM system can do more than that.

Customers want to use the products and services but they also want to be consulted more closely. In short they want to receive more attention from a company, they want to be trusted as individuals rather than a gray mass. The interaction process between customers and the sale staff will create the real relationships. Customer information is stored smartly, transaction process is recorded instead of rushing out taking a note and then forgetting about it; the information on customer satisfaction, productivity of a team or a specific employee are is updated in real time. The fastest answers will help to gain the needed trust from the customers. CRM managers are allowed to know and able to analyze each session each day, and also the work their employees are processing.

Very often, you get confused when you look up for CRM systems and get bombarded with hundreds of choices. In The Paradox of choices presented by Barry Schwartz, it stated that: the more choices we have the less likely we are to be content with our decisions. Our aim is not to confuse you so only few, but good, choices are shown in the pie chart above. It is important to mention Hubspot’s CRM which is 100% free. It is extremely lightweight and really a good option for small to midsize businesses that have never used a CRM before.

At the end of the day there is no business if there are no customers. Loyalty is difficult to find these days but if you manage to find and maintain a loyal customer you know you have struck gold. But keep in mind that customers are not clones of each other, each comes with different requirements for attention. So, like in so many situations, communication is key.