Paul Haarman: Ten signs that you are failing at customer retention

Failing to keep customers is the fastest way for a company to die explains Paul Haarman.

One of your company’s main goals should be ensuring that customer relationships are maintained and hopefully even strengthened over time. Here we discuss some signs that you might be failing at this:

1. You don’t know your customers:

This seems like a strange one, to begin with, but by not knowing who your customers are you will struggle to develop customer retention strategies for them as those strategies need to be catered towards specific people.

You should start by segmenting your customers based on their actions, needs, and attitudes which will allow you to effectively communicate with each different segment. This can be done through surveys or other methods such as behavioural analysis. Writing personas for your customers which describe the different behavioral groups that you currently have is also a good start.

2. You don’t talk to your customers:

This is one of the most important things you should do as it allows you to find out how they feel about using your product, what could be made better, and what features are not being used says Paul Haarman. It also gives you an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with you by listening to their feedback/ideas so that they become more satisfied, loyal, and active users of your site or service.

3. You don’t send out regular emails:

Sending out emails is a simple and effective form of communication that allows you not only to keep your customers up-to-date with what’s going on but also find out why certain customers aren’t returning (see point 1) and through this figure out ways in which they can become more loyal and satisfied users of your site or service. Paul Haarman says Emails should be sent at least once a month or whenever something important happens such as a new feature being released, the website undergoing maintenance, etc.

4. You don’t ask for feedback:

Asking for feedback is another great way of not only knowing how satisfied your customers are but also asking them to come up with ideas on how to improve or change things which can bring in new features and make existing ones better. This is a win-win situation as both parties get what they want (you get money and customer satisfaction and the customer gets what he wants).

5. You give too much:

Some companies feel that if they give their customers more than this will keep them around longer, which is true but for the wrong reasons. Giving too much stuff doesn’t do anything except devalue what you’re actually selling (or trying to sell). If all you do is offer deals after deals then it becomes less about giving great content or service and more about getting people hooking on buying things (which I’m pretty sure everyone hates)

6. Offer too much:

This is the opposite of number 5 and probably one of the most common mistakes companies make when it comes to customer retention says Paul Haarman. If all you do is offer deals after deals then it becomes less about giving great content or service and more about getting people hook on buying things (which I’m pretty sure everyone hates) so instead try offering free services like email support, training sessions, etc.

7. You don’t talk to them:

This is through social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. But if these are not accessible then free-phone hotlines can work just as well (just don’t spam them with sales calls). Remember if you don’t talk to them, how will they know that you exist?

8. Your content isn’t interesting:

If your site isn’t interesting or doesn’t provide anything useful then people aren’t going to want to come back again and again. Which goes hand in hand with number 4 says Paul Haarman. Make sure that you are providing good content for your readers and information that is useful to them, which they will find interesting (i.e. don’t go on about how great your company is because no one cares).

9. You haven’t got their attention:

This means having catchy headlines, graphics, etc. all over your site (which can be through plugins like Share Juice Pro, etc.) This gets people’s attention quickly and allows you to engage customers straight away before they walk off or click the back button. This also works well in emails as people may not give it a second chance if they close the email straight away (similarly to number 3).

10. You’ve pissed someone off:

No matter how much money you spend on advertising, freebies to give out, or other methods of customer retention. If someone has already decided that they are not going to use your product then nothing will change their mind. This is why it’s important not to over-sell things and keep people happy. Because the moment you lose one customer then there are potentially others ready to jump ship as well.


Paul Haarman says it’s important that you use these tips to try and retain as many customers as possible. Because this will increase your bottom line, help bring in new business through word of mouth, create loyal fans for life, and potentially even get some positive reviews which is what every company wants.

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