No doubt you've heard that "the hardest customer to gain is the customer you lost." Indeed, statistics report that it will cost you 3 times as much effort and money to win a customer back. Losing a good customer can be costly to any business but especially to small companies.
You may also know the statistic that only 5% of unhappy customers ever bother to complain, they just slip away. Another customer lost.
Most of your customers will not complain in your presence because they want to avoid conflict - telling you they are unhappy feels like a conflict. Even on a follow-up call, customers are too shy to say how they really feel about their experience with your company.
How do you get honest feedback? At the end of the job, leave behind a self-addressed, stamped postcard or something similar that asks them to rate their experience and write comments. Studies have shown that when pen and paper come out, people will be more apt to express their true feelings about the experience than they will in a call or face to face because those feel personal - a comment card feels very impersonal.
And make sure you follow up with less-than-satisfied customers to thank them for their feedback and let them know what changes you plan to make to ensure their satisfaction with the next job.
Remember, if they are not in the “5%” club and they don't have an opportunity to provide feedback, they'll likely just slip away.