Today's Reading

WHY YOU LOSE CUSTOMERS

While there are a number of specific reasons why you may lose a customer, when viewed more holistically, they boil down to a single fact:

You lose customers because they feel neglected after the sale is made.

Think back to the last time you quit doing business with someone...

You may have said it was the price, when in reality you could have paid for it. You may have said you were going in a different direction, when you didn't really need to do that. You may have said you weren't getting value anymore, but really you still were. You may have just stopped doing business with them—without saying why—and your decision was affirmed when the company didn't seem to care that you were leaving.

The typical business does a great job of getting the attention of the customer and persuading them to buy, but then does very little to create a meaningful or remarkable experience for them after the sale.

There are many reasons why customers leave, but the main reason is that businesses systematically ignore the emotional journey of the customer. It's not that they don't care. It's that the way they do business and the way their incentives and structures are set up creates a blind spot around customer experience, and that blind spot is the problem.

EMOTIONS AND EXPERIENCE ARE AN AFTERTHOUGHT

Over the years, companies have evolved into larger enterprises with more moving parts, more people, more rules, and more regulations. Humanity has slowly but surely been removed from the majority of interactions and discussions. In the modern business, one often hears phrases like "It's not personal, it's business"; and "Work is work, and personal is personal, and the two aren't meant to mix." There is a strong belief that personal relationships, conversations about feelings, and displays of emotion should be kept at home, out of the business arena.

As businesses have grown colder and more structured around policy—without taking into consideration the people the policies impact and affect—consumers increasingly feel uncared for and not considered. Customers no longer feel special because more and more the operations and structures are designed to keep the "personal" out of the "business."

In most organizations, new customer onboarding and experience is not consciously designed, logically structured, or consistently executed in a way that meaningfully contributes to the customer's emotional journey.

For example, it is assumed that the customer read the fine print in the proposal/contract and know what comes next in the process—even though the people making these assumptions don't usually read the contracts/proposals they themselves are asked to sign!

This failure to be "on the same page" causes problems when the fine print comes back to harm the customer later in the relationship. These situations arise when an individual rents a car, enrolls with a cellphone provider, selects a health insurance plan, etc.—only to find out that the customer's understanding at the time of purchase doesn't align with the way the company handles things when conflicts arise. Customers are surprised to learn that they are responsible for the cost of repairing common door dings on a rental car. Customers are infuriated to learn about the huge financial penalties for switching to another mobile phone service provider before the end of the contract term. Customers are crushed to learn that a necessary health procedure isn't covered by their insurance.

Finally, the steps in the new customer process are done in an order and sequence that aligns with the company's operations, with little care or concern for the customer's experience or needs. Most customer experience is haphazard at best, with no clear road map or milestones for the customer or the company to follow.

BRAIN SCIENCE AND FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN BEHAVIOR ARE IGNORED

Brain science teaches that even if a prospect knows, loves, and believes in a company's offerings, after they become a customer, fear, doubt, and uncertainty will plague their thoughts.

Having the customer's brain stacked against the company from the outset, combined with the lack of guidance from the organization at this point in the customer life cycle, puts new customers into a state of heightened negative emotions. This state is exacerbated by the stark difference between the new customer's feelings of fear, doubt, and uncertainty and the company's joy, euphoria, and excitement about acquiring a new customer.


THEY'RE LEAVING FASTER THAN YOU KNOW

Current business trends glamorize growth, incentivize acquisition, fail to consider the emotional journey of the customer, undervalue retention, and underpay and underequip customer-facing employees. Not to mention the fact that they completely ignore their customers' basic biology and human behavior.

It's no surprise that customers are leaving so quickly after they sign up. But how can you stop the hemorrhaging? You need to focus on what your new customers experience when they start working with you.


This excerpt ends on page 22 of the hardcover edition.
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