Some of the most crucial customer conversations never occur because customers keep secrets.  Unfortunately, if you knew the secrets (and their answers) you could maintain and grow your customer base, increase revenue per customer, and innovate in meaningful ways.

Starting today and in successive posts we’ll examine three (3) secrets and the keys to unlock those secrets:

  1. When they’re ready to leave
  2. What they need (wants vs. goals)
  3. Which other customers to target

When they’re ready to leave – When customers reach the point of leaving you for the competition they have decided they are no longer willing to invest (or waste) their time helping you create a solution.  In fact, they have actively and financially disengaged from your company.  In Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, the authors suggest that customers such as these have already answered no to one or both of these questions:   “Can I do it?” and “Is it worth it?”

Customer interactions run the gamut.

Extremely positive – customers actively participate by suggesting ways to modify your products/services (innovating) and then in advocating on your behalf (selling)

Extremely negative – customers are so upset with your company that they leave as fast as possible, convince others to leave and prevent new customers from even starting to do business with you.  (See more on the power of word of mouth.)

The solution?


  • Are you satisfied?  Or would you purchase again?
  • How likely would you be to recommend to your friends/colleagues?  Yes, the famous (some say infamous) NetPromoter question returns again.  The value here is that answering in the affirmative requires the respondent to invest themselves.
  • Would you like someone from the company to contact you about your experience?


  • Are survey response rates increasing (good) or decreasing (potentially bad).  A decrease in response rates is indicative of lower engagement and loyalty and could be a precursor to defection.
  • See which companies get feedback after good/bad experiences in this Temkin Group report.


  • Companies that fail to respond nullify the survey itself.  They communicate an ambivalence of commitment.  In essence, we want to care (we’ve checked the box), but our inaction should tell you that we don’t.

Customers are the lifeblood of any company.  Lose them and the revenue stream gets disrupted.  So it stands to reason that companies should invest in serving their customers’ needs.  The pivot point in unlocking when customers are ready to leave is to simply ask.  Not all customers will tell you but as Wayne Gretzky once said, “you miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

The Key to Unlocking 3 Customer Secrets
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