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Customers are surrounded by options – even in the confines of their homes and offices. But they’ll only leave you if you make one of these mistakes.

Commit one of these, and you can lose good customers. Of course, companies try to avoid it, yet it still happens as we all know.

Every single day, businesses lose people they’d like to keep. What’s going on?

While the root cause could be anything, usually these defections stem from a few key mistakes. Here are the mistakes and ways to mitigate them:

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Mistake 1: Assuming long-time customers are happy

Many companies – and customer service pros – equate longevity to happiness. Meanwhile, many loyal customers consider their experiences OK or good enough.

And when experiences are just good, they aren’t worth staying for. A competitor can promise – and deliver – more and win the business.

Mitigate: Celebrate customer relationship anniversaries with check-in meetings. Schedule time yearly or every six months to thank customers – via video or in person – to say thanks, ask questions and listen to feedback. For instance, an energy company offers annual energy audits at no cost. A banker reaches out to customers to review financial goals and align accounts. A fireplace installer offers chimney inspections every summer.

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Mistake 2: Forgetting customers’ best interest

Once salespeople get customers – and service helps them a few times – some customers get forgotten in the day-to-day of business. No one notices when the customers buy less, ask fewer questions or walk away dissatisfied with an answer.

Then, when the customer leaves, the company sends them incentives to come back – the same incentives that customers would’ve stayed for but were never offered.

Mitigate: Give your existing customers your best service, best advice, and best deals. Doing so may hurt your wallet in the short term, but in the long run, it’s the right thing to do and a strategy that will build trust and loyalty

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Mistake 3: Employees engaging incorrectly

Front-line employees often share information and make small talk to build rapport with customers. And customers are usually OK with it … until it’s time to get to business.

So when employees talk about themselves too much, or talk just for the sake of talking, they make customers want to do business elsewhere.

Mitigate: Live by a customer-first philosophy. No matter how friendly customers are, avoid mistaking conviviality for someone’s desire to focus on you. To put it in math terms, try to do no more than 30% of the talking. Instead, spend your time asking good questions and listening to the answers.

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Mistake 4: Inconsistent communication

Sometimes companies, sales pros and service providers follow a feast-or-famine communication pattern. They connect often early in the relationship. Then they lose contact and it seems like the customer might be slipping away.

Mitigate: Create a contact schedule that makes sense for the kind of business you’re in. Consider your customers’ industries, lives and work. Know when they’re busy – and don’t need much interaction – and when they’re more likely to be open to your unsolicited help.

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References:  Kate Zabriskie, Business Training Works Inc

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