The Secret to Business Success, Listen to Your Customers

If you are finding that many of your customers are using your goods or services once only, you are missing potential repeat sales.

Most business owners know that it is far more expensive finding new customers than it is to get repeat business from existing customers.

Too often, business owners will try a range of incentives to entice their existing and past customers back to do more business with them. Often the enticement means discounting their goods and services or offering something for free.

Your marketing might have some success, but you will still be left wondering why most past customers are not returning, even when you are offering them great deals.

After several attempts with limited success, you could well become frustrated and instead start spending more money trying to bring in new customers, even though you know that is more expensive.

Fortunately, the solution to your problem is one simple issue: Listen to your customers!

You need to find out why they are not returning to do more business. There are many methods you can use to do this, particularly if your budget is virtually endless, but a simple and inexpensive method is to simply do this:

Ask them

How do you go about doing that?

The method doesn’t matter. Most businesses should have the contact details of each client. So, phone them, email them, or knock on their door and ask them face-to-face.

If you’re a retail store or some business that doesn’t collect client information. Set up a stall outside your business, or physically go out into your community and ask people.

What do you say?

Again, this is not some marketing trick you’re putting into place which requires you to spend thousands of dollars employing the best marketing minds in the country.

Whether it is face-to-face, over the phone, by email, or even by the good old hard copy letter, simply ask something like “What problems do you have doing business with us?”

What will the results be?

You might learn some hard lessons.

You might learn some easy fixes.

Hard lessons might be that the result of their last encounter with your business did not provide them with a satisfactory result.

You might hear things like:

  • It took too long
  • It still isn’t working properly
  • It cost too much
  • Your staff member was rude
  • Your processes don’t fit my needs
  • Your website wasn’t working properly
  • I was told it would take six weeks to get the parts
  • I don’t have a computer so couldn’t log in to make a booking
  • If you want me to come into your office, it would be much faster to book online
  • You said it would be 48 hours before you could get to me

Whatever your customers tell you, your first response will likely be:

  1. That was the customer’s fault.
  2. The customer could have done xxxxxx to overcome that problem; or
  3. Come up with some excuse to justify the actions of your staff and business.

Even when all three of those excuses you make are valid, the fact they exist is preventing that customer from using your goods and services again.

But in most cases, those responses are a defensive attitude to make you and your business feel better.

Excuses won’t fix the issue and won’t bring customers back!

So, what will you do?

Do not – do nothing, this will change nothing, and some future customers will face the same issues and will also be one-time customers.

Do this – Slip your feet into your customer’s shoes and understand why their problem is preventing them from buying again from you.

Now put your mind to work on how to overcome that problem.

Is it an easy fix to some software on your website?

Do you have business processes in place because they are easy for you but difficult or time-consuming for your customer?

Your business can be successful with a constant stream of returning customers when you:

  1. Keep in regular contact with your customers and make it easy for them to contact you
  2. Be prepared to ask them what problems they have with your business
  3. Listen to their answers without counter-attacks, explanations, justifications, or lies.
  4. Finally, do something to fix those problems, and do it quickly.

And if you think your business doesn’t have any problems, ask your customers. They may have a different view.

Business professionals like those found at have dealt with a wide range of businesses and probably have some experience on how to fix the problems your customers are raising.