This article is about doing specific things to ensure that you are not losing customers on a consistent basis. Obviously, you can’t afford to continually lose customers if you want your business to be solid and sustainable over the long haul.
If you are losing customers (and therefore money), it is often for one of seven reasons. I not only address them here, but offer ideas for how to fix the problem or avoid it altogether.
1: You are not smiling when you answer customer questions
Yes, your customers ask the same questions over and over again.
Yes, you have a FAQ and they do not read it.
No, no matter what you do, this will always be an issue.
Yes, it's a blessing that they are asking you and not your competitor.
Whether it's via email or by phone, if you are not smiling when you reply to your customers' inquiries, you send a signal that is detectable even across the miles.
Studies have shown that engaging the eye and mouth muscles in a smile lowers your stress level, and when you are less stressed, you can serve your customers from a more relaxed perspective. This attitude comes across in how you communicate.
If your customers detect that you are annoyed with them, they will not have a positive experience with you, and you will risk lose them. So smile when you deal with your customers, even when you don't feel like it.
2. Your product photos are not up to snuff
Whether they are too small, pixelated and fuzzy, or staged with too many accessories, if your product photos are ugly, you are losing customers. Fix this by using a good product photographer or a service like Product Photography.
If your pictures are not all they should be now, and you do not have the budget for product photos, you basically have four options.
- You can decrease your product line to the point where you can afford to have your products photographed.
- You can max out your credit card to get the job done, and pay it off a little at a time from the increased sales you are likely to see as a result of upping your game.
- You can save up your money over time, and get good product photos as soon as you can.
- You can invest in your own product photography kit and take some classes so you can learn how to do it yourself.
It doesn't matter which one you choose. Every business is different. The point is that poor product photos cost customers, and you must execute a plan to fix that problem as quickly as possible.
3. You are not using social media to engage people
Sorry, I have to say it. Every single successful business owner I have ever met, collaborated with, wanted to do business with, admired, or interviewed has told me that they owe a great deal of their success to the thoughtful use of social media.If you are not using social media, you are losing customers.If you are looking for the perfect social media template for you, there isn't one. There are articles all over the Internet about how to use social media, but they only give you ideas. Every business is different, and you have to take the generic suggestions you find and apply them to your business.If you don't earmark a sizable amount of resources for social media marketing, then you are losing customers.
Donna Maria, Indie Business Network
4. You are hobbying
If you are not taking your business seriously, you are hobbying, and this will come across to customers and prospects no matter what. Whether it's inconsistency, refusing to hire someone to help you with your children, or not updating your website to reflect what is in or out of stock … if you don't take your business seriously, then you are not taking your customers seriously. And they know it.
5. You are not publishing a newsletter
A newsletter is a superb and inexpensive way to remain intimately connected to your customers, and to give them a reason to buy from you over and over again. Yes, people have overloaded in boxes, but they still subscribe to newsletters that they want to receive. If you are not making it possible for customers to opt in, you are forcing them to opt out by default, and you are losing sales.
6. All you do it talk about your products
When people come to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and see nothing but a sea of sales announcements, buy links and coupon codes, even if they buy something, they ususally will not become repeat customers. Make your conversation less about you and more about your customers. If you don't, you'll keep losing customers, and thus, sales.
7. You are not telling your story
In our technologically driven world, people are still people, and people long for connection with other people. Sure, you may have awesome products, and people will buy them, but they won't pay attention to your products the way they will pay attention to you. And they'll only pay attention to you if you make telling you story part of your business model.
Use your blog, newsletter and social media to share your story. What are your struggles? What are you doing well? What are your challenges? Where do you need to improve? You do not have to share the private parts of your life to do this. Keep the private stuff private, but share personal things that show that you are more than a bar of soap or a collection of beads strung together to make a necklace.
Donna Maria, Indie Business Network
What did I miss? What other things are costing us sales? What can we do to fix those things so we can be less stressed, have more fun and make more money? I would love to know your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.