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Top 5 Reasons Customers Leave

Traditional wisdom in the UK is that you are more likely to get divorced than change your bank account.  2014 will shatter such complacency, as our newly enabled digital customers take organizations to the divorce courts.  The Global Consumer Pulse Research from Accenture estimated that in 2014 the “switching economy”, the value of customers changing their providers, will be worth almost $6 trillion annually.  To put this in perspective if you invested $6 trillion in your customer service center, you could pay the wages of the entire population of Barbados to answer your phones for a year.  You would even have enough spare change left over to employ the Vatican to respond to any face book queries.

So as we head into 2014 here are my top five relationship endings to watch out for:

“It’s not you, it’s me” 

This is simply not true.  Most switching (82%) could have been prevented if the service provider had done something different.  Broken promises in customer experience are the largest cause of the underlying discontent.  This  surpasses more intuitive reasons like price.   If we look at retail banking in the UK, earlier research showed us that the number one reason for a customer complaint (29%) could be attributed to bank error, such as setting up a payment.  Customers might very well ask themselves if their bank can’t make a payment correctly, what can it do?

In 2014, companies need to be investing in first contact resolution and getting the basics right in our core processes.  Don’t give customers an excuse to start looking elsewhere

“You don’t know me anymore”

Customers want experiences that are tailored to their needs.  The customer in 2014 will be increasingly digitally enabled and technically savvy.  They are aware that companies hold growing levels of information about them, and are frustrated when this is not used effectively. 

What’s more, it will no longer be enough to simply get the basics right – such as knowing their contact history and full product holdings.  48% of customers are getting frustrated when available personal information is not used to make offers and interactions more relevant to them.  Companies need to ”know me and show me you know me”.

“You never listen to me”

We are social animals.  Not only are our customers listening to others, with 48% reading online reviews from other consumers on products and services, they expect us to listen to them.  Companies need to be using social channels to understand what customers think.  Companies that do this well can get early warning signals on how to improve customer experience and retain their customers.

“I can’t trust you”

Trust is fundamental in any relationship, and our customers are no different.  Companies need to set expectations realistically and clearly.  Then most importantly we need to stick to them.  How many of us have sat in waiting for the delivery/repair man to arrive only to get a call two hours later with a myriad of excuses?  If there is ever a moment to change supplier it is going to be when you sit in the second time for that re-arranged delivery.

The same research is showing us that 80% of customers get frustrated by such broken promises.  When switching is getting easier – are you willing to take the risk?

“There isn’t anyone else”

Don’t believe it.   With $6 trillion up for grabs, this is a huge opportunity for companies that are willing to accept the challenge, tailor the customer experience, ask the right questions, and get into a position of trust.  If you don’t shape up then your competitor will.

So if you think you are getting a little fat around the middle and taking your customer for granted, 2014 is the time to act.  Else you and your customer will end up another divorce statistic.