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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Most Customers Don't Give 2nd Chances

I recently ran an extensive user survey at WooThemes to get some validation for ideas that we were toying with for a new marketing strategy. One of the aims of the new strategy is to increase customer lifetime value (and related metrics such as user engagement & user retention), and so we set out to gauge how happy our customers were at the moment (happier customers are more likely to spend more money with us).

To our satisfaction, almost 10% of our users actually completed the 5-minute survey and of those that completed the survey, 92% said that they were very happy with our products, technical support & customer service. 92% obviously means we're doing something right.

But I wanted to delve in deeper and I've slowly been getting in touch with every single user from the 8% that said they weren't very happy with us at the moment. I wanted too figure out what exactly we did to make them feel that way in the first place & how we could potentially rectify their situation or at least improve it for other customers in future.

In addition to speaking to the customers that actually responded, I also "investigated" the customers' records and the history of their interactions to get a holistic view of what happened in the past. From this, one thing stood out for me: most customers don't give you a second chance.

To elaborate, I found that most of the unhappy customers had one bad experience via our ticketing system / helpdesk and then just left. They didn't keep hammering on the ticket where they had the bad experience, heck they didn't even respond again. Neither did they e-mail us to "escalate" the matter.

This means that, that one shitty experience for the customer was never highlighted on our radar and we thus didn't know that the customer was unhappy. It also means that we never had the opportunity to prioritize that customer and fix the situation (in which case we possibly had a chance to keep them as a customer).

I know that we shouldn't have created an unhappy customer in the first place, but no company is perfect 24-7. Things slip through the cracks and off the radar every now & again...

What I know now though is that there is a small percentage of customers that will never give you an opportunity to rectify their situation and they will likely never be your customer again. 8% may not seem significant, but that's 8% that I'm not happy to lose.

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