Why Customers Cheat

Every retailer has a core group of customers that they assume are loyal customers and only buy their fishing equipment from you. What if you found that those so-called loyal customers were actually cheating on you and shopping at your competition as well? I’m sure you would be shocked and a little hurt because in the past you have given them an extra discount or above average service because of their past loyalty. Maybe you have special ordered in something special just for them or set aside a new reel from a shipment knowing that you may be out of stock before they were able to come in again. You do so much for them, yet they cheated on you.

While a cheating customer is not illegal or as drastic as a cheating spouse, it can still be hurtful. This isn’t a reason for you to end your friendly relationship with them; in fact it is a reason for you to reevaluate your store and your selling style.

Here are four reasons your customers will leave you and shop your competition…

Bad Service
We have all had a bad day, or said something jokingly that no one else quite gets. This can be misconceived as bad customer service. Customer service is the leading reasons customers cheat. Maybe one of your new employees was less than courteous to one of your key customers and this sent them away. If you are able to interact with a defected customer outside of your store in a friendly manner, ask them what happened. Explain you value their business and want to right whatever wrong occurred. The end of the day though, every employee must treat each and every customer as though they are a valued customer, one bad day could result in lost revenue for your business.

Brand Selection
One of the biggest reasons your loyal customers may venture elsewhere is because you are not carrying what they need or want. You sell certain lines of goods and cannot feel sorry for not carrying all lines. Your store is only so big and you may have certain contracts that keep you from selling competing brands. If an angler wants to try a different brand they will need to go elsewhere. There is nothing you can do about this, but you should in conversation find out why they prefer this other brands to the ones you sell. If they are a trusted-customer and their fishing knowledge is one you have come to trust maybe they know something you don’t about this other brand. It never hurts to ask.

Price is the least common reason your customers may shop at your competition. Every store has a different methodology to calculate their prices. Occasionally you will be out priced because your competition received a better deal, or was able to buy in bulk when you were unable to. Customers will always attempt to find the best prices, but will forgo a minimal price difference for better customer service. If your prices consistently higher than theirs it may be time for you to reevaluate your pricing structure or your distributors.

Greener Pastures
Another reason a customer may leave you is because of change in their lifestyle. Maybe they have moved and your competition across town is now closer to their new home. Unbeknownst to you, the only reason they were loyal to you over the years is due to your location, not due to you or your store’s offerings. They may have also found a new connection with an employee or your competition or the storeowner themselves. There is nothing you can do about either of these situations, just realize that this will happen and this is the reason why you need to continue to cultivate new customers.

Change of Pace
We all get each feet and wonder what is on the other side of that hill or if the fishing is better on the other side of the lake. Customers are the same way and they may just go shop your competition just to see what they have to offer. This doesn’t mean they are leaving you, just curious to how the other half live. They may have also received a gift card or a special offer to shop at your competition. Whatever the reason they go there it is not a reason for you to worry nor is there anything you can do about it. You can turn this in to a positive and ask for feedback about your competitions store and what your customer liked and disliked about it. This way you can get new ideas for your store and show your customer that their opinion matters.

Eventually all customers will stray, there is nothing you can do about this, but you need to work every day to ensure those same customers come back and shop your store regularly. If bad customer service drove them away then change your employees approach to customers before more customers leave. If you have tips you would like to share on bringing back customers or thoughts on why customers cheat share them with us on our Facebook page and our LinkedIn group.