Hmmm. Another customer just selected a competitor for their next project. That’s the third time that’s happened this quarter. Like the others, you thought you’d worked well with the customer. So why didn’t this customer choose you again? It must be the new CFO that joined their company last year. She’s probably forcing them to use new vendors. She obviously doesn’t care about maintaining successful working relationships. It’s obvious she only cares about saving money and not the value of maintaining a good working relationship. It certainly can’t be about the quality of your services. This customer’s always been happy with your services. Haven’t they?
If you haven’t heard directly from your customers that they are happy with your services, you can’t assume: No news is good news!
If you haven’t heard directly from your customers that they are happy with your services, you can’t assume: No news is good news! No news from a customer may actually mean: “We’re done. We’re done providing feedback. You’re not listening to us. We’ve told you several times what we need you to change, add, stop, or alter to better meet our current and future needs, and you haven’t done it. You were right for our business five years ago, but you’re not growing with us. What we need now, you can’t provide. Because of that, we’re moving our business to another vendor.
You were right for our business five years ago, but you’re not growing with us. Because of that, we’re moving our business to another vendor.
Losing customers over time is a part of doing business. Some customers go out of business, others may simply want to see what another vendor can do, and some may choose a cheaper source. You’ve no doubt also lost customers because they’ve asked you for products or services you simply do not want to offer. That happens. However, if you’re losing customers you want to keep, you’ve got a problem. And the problem may be that you’re not listening to them and they’re outgrowing your offerings.
If you’re losing customers you want to keep, the problem may be that you’re not listening to them and they’re outgrowing your offerings.
We all have customers who can be a headache every now and then. During client strategy sessions, we refer to these types of customers as Tier 3 Customers. They ask for things that make our work harder. They ask us to do more work on our end just to make their lives easier. Because of this, we work for the money we make on their projects. A sign we’re dealing with a potential Tier 3 customer, is that we may groan when we see the text, email, or incoming call from them. Ugh! They’re painful! Our initial reaction is often to do whatever it takes to get rid of them and get back to our ‘easy’ customers, our Tier 2 customers. Our ‘easy’ customers don’t push us to think, create, produce and perform differently or to a new level. They take what we give them. However, the customers that ask for changes and enhancements to align with what they’re doing and where they’re going want us to learn and grow with them. They want us to enhance our skills and offerings to continue the relationship with them. They’re not trying to simply get as much as possible for as little as possible, as do Tier 3 customers. They want to be better and they want us to be better too. They want to be a Tier 1 customer for us, but we’re not listening to them. Instead, we dismiss their feedback and requests for the next level of service, as irritants and nuisance requests. These customers are trying to take us to the next level with them, and we’re not listening to them. We’re not seeing the opportunities for learning and growth they’re presenting to us. Instead, we’re viewing them as a Tier 3 customer. A Tier 3 customer we want to get rid of so we can get back to doing what is ‘easy’ and what we already know how to do.
When we don’t recognize when our customers want us to grow with them, they outgrow us.
Are you growing with your customers?
Copyright MMXIX - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.