The Myth Of a Repeat Customer

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, the average business never hears from 96% of its unhappy customers. And for every complaint received, a business will have twenty six others that are unreported, six of which are serious.

Why am I writing about this?
Because of the myth of a repeat customer.

I hear all the time business owners proclaiming proudly “most of my sales are repeat business”. Many business owners think that just because they get repeat business and customers stay with them, it means that they are doing something right. Sometimes they do. Quite often they don’t.

Sadly, just a repeat business by itself doesn’t mean that much. Why? Because changing vendors requires usually so much lost time and aggravation that customers stay put to avoid it, even if they are dissatisfied.

People hate changes and studies prove that even unhappy customers keep patronizing the same business. They simply have no time to look for another vendor and/or don’t want to risk finding something worse.

So, if you get repeat orders, make sure that you REALLY know that customers keep buying from you for a good reason. Commit to developing a knock-your-socks-off quality product and customer service. Think long term business — a mutually satisfied business relationship inspires lifetime loyalty, not just repeat business.

You might be tempted to assume that if they prefer doing business with you and keep paying their bills, it really doesn’t matter …

Believe me, it does. If your customers are not *happy* doing business with you, whether you realize it or not, you live in constant danger. Some smart competition might arrive at any moment and by making it easy, attractive and non-threatening, eventually they WILL compel your customers to give them a try. And your customers might leave you, together with that repeat business.

Keep in mind that even if your competition will not prove to be any better, the customers rarely if ever return!

The cure? Implement some system of regular assessments to keep a score of how are you are doing in the department of customer satisfaction. I say a “system” because it should be an ongoing method allowing you to measure results frequently (so that you can track your progress).

To find out how you can develop an effective customer survey read “How to find out what your customers really think about your business”.

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