Subhakar Rao Surapaneni

Investor, Sales and Marketing Pioneer, Author, Technology Champion, Philanthropist, Leadership Mentor

5 Factors why customers switch brands and what brands can do about it.

Subhakar Rao Surapaneni Brand image

My customers like my products but most are not interested in converting”.

Does this situation sound similar to yours? Well, when customers are checking your products but not taking serious actions bear it in mind that there is a problem to customer retention! Did you know – Today, 40% of customer retention accounts for 60% of business turnover unlike bygone concept – 20% of customers generating 80% turnover. Within couple of years, the figures will be slowly equating to a 50/50 rule!

Surprisingly, brand loyalty is not the same as before. It takes fraction of seconds for a customer to change the brand if they are not impressed with! The dramatic switch of Nokia’s loyal customer base into Apple’s or Samsung market share establishes this rationale. No matter the engagement level, switching brands faster for customers are aftermaths of brands dissatisfaction across multi-channels. Did you ever think of what makes customers “wow” about your product? Let’s brainstorm.

The Customer’s Wow Factor

Customers simply don’t connect to your products; it is an experience or the “wow factor” at a lightning speed to which customers connect. If the Omni-channel value is derived from the brand to the customer, this exists for a lifetime. Expectations, pricing, gifts, perks, discounts, quick response from a brand – when all these are not met, they usually end up to frustrations eventually leading to brand switches.

Despite brand and service improvements a lot many marketing tactics employed still vanishes in doubt as there are no such proven methods that advocates customer loyalty for brands. It turns out that customer delight is no longer the primary driver for brand success; rather, it is the customer effort score that drives customer loyalty for you. CES or Customer Effort Score is nothing but the amount of effort the customer puts to resolve a brand issue. The more the effort put by the customer, the less they are likely to re-purchase. The less the efforts; the more likely to purchase, compared to one-time customer.

So, what makes customer purchase frequency tick? To make sure if you are not missing out the mark, here’s an extensive list of factors to check out.

  1. Customer engagement quality – Is an opportunity overlooked?

It’s a good sales opportunity for you if your customer loves something about your brand. Are you capitalizing on it? To stand out in the competition, you have to be present across all touch points of your customer lifecycle. Social media, Customer support, tele calling, email campaigns, SMS campaigns, feedback etc. – each touchpoint is a crucial factor that can either delight your customer or disappoint. Always remember, customers are fickle minded with high possibilities to move on to a different channel.  Negative experiences are 500X more likely to drive customers away resulting in not only loss of existing customers but also affecting the brand image as a whole.

Right from pre-sales to post-sales in the sales cycle and even beyond, customer’s end-to-end journey is purely based on customer’s end-to-end experience. With each interaction, there’s an opportunity to enhance customer experience and thereby increase brand competitiveness. So, are you improvising on the quality of customer engagement lifecycle? Check out!


  1. Customer pain points – Are you able to identify, then design?

Two outcomes define Customer journey road map – Pain or Delight.  Pain points are inevitable within the customer’s journey but lessening them certainly rests in your hands. Embark on a market research, ask “why” instead of “what”, get customers participate through surveys, ask relevant and open ended questions, ask for feedback and listen to their needs in each interaction to iron out the pain points. Such customer insights are crucial resources to identify the deal breaking crisis. Once spotted, you can definitely turn pain into gain & design the customer roadmap to elicit more insight and accordingly improvise.

  1. Not embedding personalized experience – Are you missing out the curve?

Shopping propensity = brand + level of personalization

If you experience serious slump in sales, you probably don’t know your consumer’s new shopping behaviour & their expectations. Nearly 52% of customers will switch brands if their brand communications are not personalized as per their tastes and needs.

Forget the one-size-fit-all approach as customer tastes & perceptions changes more frequently than ever before. Mere offering quality product to customer is not enough. Instead, identify the decision fatigue i.e., what actually connects the customer with a brand? Of course, it is far above and beyond mere facilitating their choices. Whichever interactions you choose – personalized offers, campaigns, discounts, perks and services-it’s all about delivering tailor-made customer experiences based on the customer segmentation. By personalizing their experience and incorporating customer’s ideas within the products & services, you catch up their expectations, thereby catapult your sales.

  1. Not answering FAQs

Troubleshooting & brand FAQs-customers want to be in touch with brands even before they make a purchase. Not addressing their queries and resolving them can spell a serious danger for your brand. An issue resolved within 24 hours at the first point of contact can lessen the acquisition cost up to 170%, unlike an issue that takes 48 hours’ time to resolve.

With the advent of the digital world, right from price to product features, values and benefits – everything is transparent to the customers. Get your resolution timing right across all communication channels – social media, emails, tele-calling, online forums etc. Resolving answers not only makes a happy customer. It also makes a customer loyal forever.

  1. Sticking to old traditional marketing approaches

Is your brand communication adaptive to technological changes to deliver more digital value to customers? Think. New technologies are changing the traditional ways that brand used to interact with customers once upon a time. If you are not honing your digital skills, your brand is not digitally fit to keep up with dramatically fast changes.

Do more with less. Yes, the fusion of digital plus traditional technology is the real-time marketing technology for multi-channel communications. Technological hybrid is a game changer for all marketers. Think of social logins to retail sites, native apps, web chats, mobile wallets, in-store banking, – all these demands more and more of programmatic competencies plugged-in to reach to the consumer niche at the core. Creative ideas integrated to technological initiatives instilled within customer journey will not only benefit optimal shopping experiences but also truly multiply business revenues and fetch real-time sales results.

Losing a loyal customer to another brand means brand failure. No business will want it. Brand relationships are the life blood for businesses and to nurture them, you need to do everything including the above measures that can impact the business bottom line. So, are you doing your part?

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