Marketers in many industries have a “push-pull” problem: They spend a lot of time devising ways to pull in customers -- identifying the right buyer segments, crafting messages and making promises. But their efforts are frequently undermined by company behaviors that push customers away.
Companies push customers away? According to results from our recent research, that's what consumers think their providers are doing. Consider, for example, that of all survey respondents who changed product or service providers in the last year, 85 percent said the company could have done something to keep the switch from happening. What's more, 67 percent said they might not have left if the company had resolved a sticky issue during the first interaction. Fifty-four percent believe that being recognized and rewarded for their level of business could have prevented their leaving. This is money walking out the door -- money that probably wanted to stay!
Companies may not be doing enough to hold onto customers. But is that the same as pushing them away? Maybe not. Our research has also identified a slew of common corporate behaviors that are likely to repel customers:
Preventing the push
Many solutions are implied in the above list of shortcomings: Provide multiple -- and relevant -- channels for customer interactions, as well as simple and seamless movement across channels. Verify whether customers who are willing to share data are rewarded for their efforts. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep and make good on those that you do make. Looking more closely, it can be helpful to monitor conversations conducted on social media (quickly identifying user concerns and remedying the situation before issues turn into problems). It’s also important to ratchet up analytics capabilities: mining data to more fully understand what customers want and expect. After all, switch-prone customers are basically saying “you pulled me in, so don’t negate your efforts by pushing me away.”