The Top 3 Reasons for Customer Departure in B2B and B2B2C

Philippe Pavillet

Nov 17, 2020

Left without warning: why do your customers leave you?

The departure of a customer doesn't just take business away from you: it’s a call for you to reconsider your business relationship. Because if you don't, you risk losing many other customers and miss out on new business opportunities - not to mention the impact on your margin and on the morale of your team!

So what are the key reasons for customer departure?

Customers leave because they have changed.

For a B2B customer, the most radical reason is the outright closure of their business. But there are many other cases where, while you may not have control of how things evolve, you may still find new opportunities:

  • The client’s company is being absorbed by another company that has its own purchasing channels. You should definitely leverage your current contact to meet with them and introduce yourself.
  • The company has joined a purchasing group to achieve economies of scale. Why not become a supplier of this group?
  • Your contact has left the company for another one: this is a double opportunity 1) to convince his/her successor to start working with you again and 2) to keep the relationship active with your former contact so as to extend the collaboration to their new company.

Customers leave because the ecosystem has changed.

The emergence of the gig economy is a perfect example of markets turned upside down by the arrival of new players that changed purchasing and consumption habits.

If your customers change their way of buying or consuming, are you able to respond to their new demands?

Customers leave because the service is no longer in line with their expectations.

This is where we get to the heart of the matter: the situations when the customer is leaving for reasons linked to your own service. The good news is that you can act upon them!

The most obvious explanation for the customer’s departure in such cases is that they “have found better elsewhere". But what is "better"?

  • Better quality products or services? 
  • Availability of products or services not in your catalog?
  • Products or services better adapted to their needs? 
  • Better support, especially in the case of products or services requiring training? 
  • Better delivery times?
  • Better pricing for the same services or products?
  • Or maybe nothing in particular and a bit of everything in general? 

If we had to sum it up in one word, the top reason for customers’ departure is DECEPTION.

That's why they didn't give you any warning signs, and you didn't see it coming: whereas unhappy customers are very vocal, disappointed customers just leave silently. But why?

Top reasons for customer disappointment

Here are the most common pitfalls – but the list is not exhaustive:

  • Alignment of the product or services: do they meet customers’ expectations in terms of quality, ease of implementation, price and ROI?
  • Lack of innovation: how much have you been shipping new products or services that meet customers’ evolving needs?
  • Poor onboarding: what is your process in terms of introducing your product to your new clients so as to make sure they use it properly and get all the value out of it?
  • Customer support: are your customers’ tickets properly handled? Are customers happy with the support they get? Its response time?
  • Communication: are your customers always engaged according to the value they provide to you? Are you communications aligned with where they stand in their lifecycle?

In all likelihood, there is no single reason for customers departure, but a combination. Finding which one takes time, but it is a key first step in improving your performance. If you have not started doing so, now is the time!

"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." - Bill Gates.

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