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One way to keep customers

Burns Waring, chartered Accountants and Business Consultants, Canterbury and MaidstoneYesterday I had my monthly lunch-meeting with Richard C (another new, rich and valued tradition, Liz ;-))

One of the topics we discussed was the question "Why customers leave your company".

  • Price?
  • Influence of friends/family/colleagues?
  • bad service received?
  • locality?

Of course, on average customers leave you sooner than anything else when your service isn't up to their expectations. They can base their expectations on how you treated them before, or what they have heard from friends/family/colleagues about your great level of service. Price normally doesn't come into the equation (or the price-value perceived is way off - and that goes both ways, too cheap can costs you too).

(Side-note: because we - as Wood You Like - are very unfamiliar with the concept of loosing a customer, we gain more customer through recommendations by friends/family/colleagues regardless of our prices, the only reason I could come up with was locality. Not ours, Charing is right in the middle of East Kent, with easy access from both motorways and A-routes, but theirs as in moving home outside the county.)

At one point Richard told me a story about another accountant. Besides excellent Businesses Consultants Burns Waring are Chartered Accountants with clients ranging from one-man-bands, SME's and Internationals. Many of their new clients come from WoM - BW has many, many 'ambassadors' among their existing clients.

For some companies switching accountants seems to be a problem. Not becoming a new client of BW, but leaving - i.e. firing - their existing accountant. The main reason for leaving your existing accountant is (once again) not having received the care and/or service you expected. I can imagine that informing your 'old' accountant of your intention to 'break off' the relationship is not something many of us look forward to, but it has to happen, that conversation must take place.

One accountant in the region seems to have a 'knack' of keeping reluctant and eager to leave clients. Every time she's told the client wants to leave, she burst into tears!
(And all you tough guys out there, tell me you wouldn't change your mind at the exact moment a lady starts crying!)

That's one way to keep your customer: emotional blackmail!

Would you 'surrender' to it? Or would you resort to this method to keep your 'leaving' customer?

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