Retriever Users

Why Your Existing Customers Go to the Competition


We’ve all been there. We think our loyal customers know what services or products we offer and then we’re caught off-guard when we find out that they’ve gone to a competitor for something we could do for them.

When that happens, a business questions their quality, pricing, or the loyalty of the customer, when in fact it might be another problem altogether that has lost the opportunity. More often than we realize, where we’re really dropping the ball is with communication.

When it comes to your loyal customers, they think they know you. They probably even think they know you well. So, unless you disrupt that perception with new information, they won’t even take the time to check with you or your website when the time comes to do something that they haven’t done with you before.

For example, imagine you own a high-end restaurant with a loyal base of clientele, and you also offer catering. Your restaurant business is booming, but you start to notice that several of your regular customers are booking their catering with another restaurant for all of their holiday parties. In casual conversation, one even says, “You know, you really ought to cater! We’d hire you in a second!” Of course, you inform them that you do offer that and that you’d love to cater for them in the future.

The reason opportunities like that slip through your fingers with even your most loyal customers is because you haven’t communicated that information effectively.

When you want to disrupt the status quo and get someone’s attention for something new, you need to catch their eye, be concise, and repeat the message.

People love to look at beautiful things – it’s why we put backgrounds on our computer and phone screens and decorate our homes and spend a fortune on clothing. Because we are drawn to things that look good.

We also love to look at things that are dynamic. The evidence is everywhere: video is a more effective tool than static imagery. In fact, Facebook reports that video is 5x more engaging than static imagery. So, if you want to catch someone’s eye, you need to make sure your message is delivered in a visual compelling way.

Then, once you have their attention, you need to be concise. You have seconds to communicate your message, so don’t waste that time with anything but the point. If you want your customers to know that you offer catering, tell them you offer catering, and how they can get more information. Don’t bury catering in a long list of other extended service offerings, or in a mixed message. Be concise.

Finally, don’t expect to tell people once and have it stick. On average, people need to hear a message seven times before they’re ready to make a decision about something. That doesn’t mean that your server should bring it up at the table seven times – but be creative with repetition and find touch points that will be gentle, non-pushy reminders of that information so that, when the time comes that your customer is ready to make a decision, you’re on the top of the list… just the way you are when they ask themselves, “Where do you want to go out to eat tonight?”

We’d love to help you find the breakdowns in your communication strategy. If that would be helpful, click here to schedule a free 30 minute communications consultation.

Colleen Cook

Colleen Cook

Colleen Cook works full-time as the Director of Operations at Vinyl Marketing in Ashland, Ohio, where she resides with her husband Mike and three young daughters. She's an insatiable extrovert who enjoys finding reasons to gather people.