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Chapter: Business Science : Marketing Management : Buyer Behavior

Customer Defection

Why do customers defect?The reality is that many businesses lose a significant number of customers of their customer base every single year and either don‗t know who these customers are, why they are leaving or spending less.

Customer Defection


Why do customers defect?


The reality is that many businesses lose a significant number of customers of their customer base every single year and either don‗t know who these customers are, why they are leaving or spending less.


1.Why are customers lost?


Price while it may be important in attracting new customers it would seem that it is a minor issue in developing loyalty and retaining customers. Most of the research on price puts it as only relatively important as it accounts for only about 15% of the reason why customers switch.


Physical factors Such physical factors as a more convenient location are also ranked quite low, as are competitor action and invention. Marketing and competitor activity and relationship with a competitor are a bout 15%. The competitor products advantages account for further 10% to 15%


The most important and common reasons for customer switching is the indifference and inattention of the business and from the customers point of view the lack of any real reason to stay.


Customer sophistication customers not only expect and demand more they are also more articulate in saying so. Twenty years of dramatic social change have changed the way most of us select the businesses we use.


Complexity buying the most simplest product or service can, if the customer wishes be a very complex decision making process. The blurring of differences between brands, products and companies.


Competition in almost every market in every developed country of the work, competition has increased dramatically in the last ten years. Globalization and advance manufacturing technology have resulted in businesses becoming faster and improving product quality.



Costs costs play a significant role in understanding the economic trends and changes in recent years. The economic downturn of the early nineties gave birth to the business customer and the personal consumer which showed that markets can go down as well as up. Therefore it is very important to ensure that we get more value for money in purchasing and choosing suppliers.


Here are some of the key reasons why customers switch:


Too little contact

Too little individual attention


Poor quality attention – especially when problems are encountered Generally poor service levels and standards



In non-commercial organizations or utility providers where changing suppliers or switching business is more difficult - the four factors mentioned above are at the root of the majority of complaints. It is obvious that any improvement in the above four areas usually reduces the number of customers that are defecting.





2.Tips for success


There are some important steps that you should take to ensure that your enterprise provides better customer service:


Customer product – high quality every time preferably above expectations


High perceived value – attention to detail and added service touches


Clear benefits




Customer service – responsive and knowledgeable


Guarantee/ warranty




Complaint resolution – fast response always


Positive experiences


It might be useful to think of each customer as having certain life cycle stages: Contact phase


Goal – to gain a new customer. Contact through marketing, advertising, telemarketing, personal selling, direct mail, promotion and publicity.


3.Acquisition phase


Goal – to increase customer retention. Collect as much information about the customer as possible. Understand their purchase condition. Offer them post purchase re-assurance. Promote the price value relationship. Establish the foundation for a long term relationship. Know the associated costs.


Retention phase

Goal - to create long term and committed loyal customers. Develop a service philosophy. Increase responsiveness to customers. Identify and close service gaps. Improve the service recovery process.


Loyalty phase


Goal – to extend your customers loyalty. Define loyalty and customer lifetime value and average net worth. Counteract defection rates and patterns. Understand loyalty calculations. Know costs associated with their loyalty. Provide them with accurate customer information.


How to stay close to your customer?


1.              Show them that you think of them


2.              Tell them what‗s new – it is a good way to stay in touch and make more sales


3.               Offer valued customer discounts to important clients – this can take the form of coupons, letters and other sales promotions


4.              Compensate customers for lost time or money for faulty products or services.


5.               Be personal – keep notes in your customer files of every little detail that you know about the customer – from spouse children‗s names, hobbies etc.


6.              Always be honest – nothing undermines your credibility than dishonesty.


7.               Accept returns unconditionally – the few dollars that you lose in the short run are more than compensated for by long term value of the customer.


8.              Honour your customer‗s privacy.


9.              Keep your promises – Never, never make a promise that you cannot deliver.


10.        Give feedback on referrals – this is the best way to show your appreciation for the referral.


11.        Make your customers famous – if your business has a newsletter ask your customers permission to write about their success.


12.       Keep lines of communication to the customer always open.


4.Customer attrition and retention


Relationship attrition is the number of client who do not renew their relationship per month


– this is expressed as a percentage of the total customers at the beginning of the month. This is a key indicator of the relationship management performance of the business and should be reviewed at least monthly.


The measure of relationship retention is an important indicator of how effective your business has been fulfilling the requirements of the customer. In some cases attrition rates

can be very high and alarming.


How to keep customers for life:


Select the right customer through market research


Know your purpose for being in business


Move your customers from satisfaction to loyalty by focusing on retention loyalty schemes


Develop reward programs


Customize your products and services


Train and empower your employees in excellent customer service


Speed up the customer service process


Know what‗s important for the customer


Always measure what‗s important to the customer


Introduce customer retention measures Use market value pricing concepts



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