Why do people abandon their interactions with your company and don’t purchase or develop loyalty? Well, here are six reasons that may give you some insights into why people purchase or not from your company and possibly why customers stop interacting with your company too.
It happens. Another company’s brand and solutions resonate better with prospective customers. But if it happens all the time, you may want to investigate what’s happening. Why are so many people choosing the competition? What are they offering that you aren’t? How are they communicating to them, so they are more appealing? What are they communicating to them? It could be price, convenience, brand expression, or product ease of use. It could be simply that they solve a different problem. Or it seems that they solve a different problem.
This is why it’s important to know your competition—the problem they are solving and how they solve it. And just for the record—free product isn’t always the answer to win over people’s hearts. There’s more to it than that.
The best customer insight I got was from an IT sales guy I used to work with. He told me that the reason why the competition won more deals was that the salespeople would “tuck in their customers, give them hot cocoa and read them a bedtime story.” They connected to them emotionally, taking them out on outings, listening, and appealing to their needs and desires. They realized that the customers wanted to feel emotionally connected with them—not just hear about the latest feature. It’s the emotional experience of the product, service, support, and advice—everything involved in solving a customer’s problem - as well as the physical experience that connects people to your brand. That may be missing from your experience and that gap may be drive people somewhere else.
Because you do this work every day, you probably understand every single issue regarding your product and the problem it solves. But your customers don’t. They see their problem through their perspective and see few alternative solutions. As a marketer or salesperson your job is to help customers understand the problem they are solving. If they don’t connect to your message, they won’t continue interacting with you.
Branding and marketing efforts can help you better communicate the problem but first you need to understand your customer’s perspective and how they see the problem if they even see it. This means talking with them directly through interviews and focus groups for market research. There is a great article at Harvard Business Review , “Know Your Customer’s Jobs to be Done” and this quote from the article sums this up really well: “What they really need to home in on is the progress that the customer is trying to make in a given circumstance—what the customer hopes to accomplish. This is what we’ve come to call the job to be done.”
The “job to be done” is the problem you solve.
If your customers don’t understand your perspective of their problem, then most likely they won’t understand how you approach solving it. Most people need help visualizing innovation in the context of the familiar.
“Some people say, "Give the customers what they want." But that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, "If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, 'A faster horse!'" People don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.” – Steve Jobs
Jef Raskin, one of the most talented user interface designers ever, also believed this. To Raskin, there was no such thing as intuitive functionality—people related to interfaces through the familiar. People would ask him to design a new solution and then criticized him because it wasn’t what they expected. He often noted that they didn’t want something new, they wanted something they recognized.
This leads me to one of my favorite stories about latches versus doorknobs. My uncle told me that one of the major differences between Germany and the US was latches versus doorknobs. I thought he was being silly until a German friend of mine shared a story of when she was an exchange student, new in the US, and wanted to take a bath in her new host home. She had no idea how to lock a doorknob. Needless to say, it was not a relaxing bath.
If you customers can’t connect to your solution in some way, you’ve lost them. And they will find another way to solve their problem from your competitor or create something on their own.
If someone doesn’t see the problem that they are experiencing as an impediment to their life, they won’t solve it. Dr. Srini Pillay shares many insights addressing this. He believes that we need to see change as essential to our lives or we simply won’t do it. And he is right. You may try to persuade customers to see the problem otherwise, but this decision is really beyond your control. We like to think we can persuade people to buy from us, but in the end, we can’t. People have many priorities occurring at once. It’s rare that your solution to their problem will be at the top of their list. And if they don’t see it as essential to their lives to improve it and have a better life, they won’t do it. They need feel the pain and discomfort of their lives today to make a change to a new way.
Buying a new product or solution means making a change. And if you aren’t ready emotionally to make a change, you won’t do it. It’s really that simple. You can’t persuade someone to change—they’ll only make an excuse as to why they won’t, and they will probably claim it’s money. In reality, they just don’t want the change yet.
Here’s an example…how many of you will place something in your shopping cart at a store site and not buy it right away? I am notorious for leaving items in my cart 2-3 days, especially if they are expensive items and I’m not yet ready to spend the money. I know—it’s weird! But I’m sure I’m not the only person who does this.
People buy, again, when the problem makes them so uncomfortable that they are motivated to make a change to make it better.
And last but not least...
Our lives can be so busy and complicated, that what was high priority one day may fall to the bottom the next. You may be able to renew customer interest depending on how much they liked and valued your solution to start. What made it fall? We don’t know and most likely a customer wouldn’t tell us anyway, even if they consciously knew the reason. The customer probably forgot about it and got refocused on something else.
We sometimes like to provide excuses for customers not based on data, but “intuition” and supposition. But we need to stay focused on facts, and the fact is that they aren’t interacting or buying. If you ask me, lost interest is a great reason why customers don’t interact with you. It makes it easy for you to take the opportunity to regain their interest by reaching out and reminding them that they had interest in purchasing at one point in time.
Now, I believe that the real underlying reason for all of these six reasons is that we sometimes take for granted that our employees love our customers, but do they? Our products may be wonderful and won awards, but those aren’t the reasons why we are in business as a company. We are in business because we solve problems for our customers. Sure, we should be proud of our achievements. But we, including employees, should also be proud of how we help people. And to help people we need compassion. And compassion only comes through love. And if you feel love for your customers, they will feel it too, and you can build loyalty from that. But if that doesn’t exist, your customers will feel it. And that is the biggest customer turn-off of all. Most times that alone is the underlying reason for why they don’t buy from your company and the cause for these other reasons. If your employees don’t feel enough compassion to help your customers solve their problems, then it will be difficult, if not impossible, for your customers to understand the problem you solve and how you solve it and work with your company.
I hope this was helpful. Thanks so much and have a great day!
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