My wife, Mary Ann, and I were watching a movie that we called called "The Women", a story about a woman who husband had taken a mistress and the mistress was controlling the husband.
Well, the wife found out about the mistress and ran into her at a high-end lingerie store and confronted her.
Here is some of the dialogue from that meeting (probably not word-for-word but an accurate recollection) – (Picture your customer as the husband, your company as the wife and your competitor as the mistress):
Mistress: A woman never steals another woman's husband. They usually go willingly.
Business rewording: One business never really steals another businesses customers, the customers usually go willingly – and do not look back
Wife: My husband is a really smart man. He'd never take someone like you seriously.
Business rewording: My customers really like me – they're really smart – they've never go anywhere else.
Mistress: I know so many women like you (I guess she was being "the mistress" before) – living in a fantasy, wealthy friends, full calendars. It all makes you feel like you're doing something. But, ever, they (the husbands) come looking for someone who makes them feel appreciated again – and they take that very seriously.
Business rewording: Do you see yourself here?
When I heard this I just had to rewind and write it down. It sounds like so many businesses today – not paying enough attention to their best customers – letting them feel unappreciated.
And what do these customers do? They find another company – your competitor – who makes them feel appreciated again.
It's not the customer's fault that they leave you and go to someone else – your competitor, the mistress. It's your fault. You are the one who has driven them away by not paying enough attention to them, not making them feel special, not making a star out of them, by not providing the level of customer service that they feel they deserve.
The moral of this story is to re-woo (ie, win again) them. You can get some of them back. Some will return and some will not.
There are business who have treated me like that – forgotten me, drve me away, some with poor customer service and some by not appreciating me. Some of them are Discover Card, Culpepper's, and several more. They just did not treat me like I wanted to be treated.
The two all-revealing questions you have to ask yourself, and be very, very honest with yourself are:
1) "What am I doing to keep my customers, to make them happy, to make them glad to do business with me?"
2) "Why should your customer choose to do business with you, above any and all other options, including doing nothing or continuing to do whatever they're doing now?"
It's your business, it's your bottom line, they're your customers. You can keep them or loose them, It's up to you.
PS In the movie, the wife went on to prosper.
PPS The wife and her husband, after a separation, went to marriage counseling together.
PPPS Nothing worked out well for the married couple unless they worked at it – same in your business – you have to work at keeping your customers / clients / patients.