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Why you should conduct customer exit interviews

Customers leave for a wide variety of reasons and while it isn’t the ideal outcome for a brand, these situations don’t have to be a lost cause. When a customer decides to leave your company, the insights they can share are invaluable and have the potential to transform your business.

Customer exit interviews are a resourceful way to capture valuable information from your customers as they leave, whether that be about your products, services, competitors, or anything else they’ve noticed during their customer journey. 

What is a customer exit survey?

A customer exit survey is designed to find out why a customer is leaving, how satisfied they are with their experience, and what could have been done to retain them longer. 

Exit surveys serve two primary purposes: 

The first goal is to make the customer feel heard, valued, and understood, even if their goal is still to end the relationship with the brand in question. By providing quality support at the end of the customer’s journey, brands can ensure their customers are not feeling frustrated or ignored and that they’re less likely to leave a negative review. Some customers may even reconsider their decision to leave as a result.

The second purpose of a customer exit interview is to gain insight into the customers’ experience and find out if anything needs to be adjusted for existing and future customers. The customers that leave a brand are likely to have negative feedback about their experience and while that isn’t always fun to hear, brands who tap into it can resolve issues more proactively. 

Why are customer exit surveys important? 

Many brands choose to let customers leave without sending a customer exit survey, but this is a mistake. The more customers that leave without sharing their perspectives, the more future customers will leave for the same reason, even though the problem could have been fixed. 

Customer exit surveys can help to highlight concerns with products, specific features, technical applications, customer service or anything else the customer has interacted with during their buyer’s journey. For example, you might find out there is a design flaw on your website or a faulty part of a particular product. This information, if acted on quickly, can save significant amounts of time and resources for the brand because it can resolve the problem before it affects too many others. It also demonstrates that the brand is willing to listen and take its customer's needs into account. For customers, this is a very appealing quality and often the deciding factor in which brand they choose to invest in. So, if you want to get an edge over your competitors, listen to and act on what your customers say. You can achieve that through Customer Satisfaction surveys (CSAT), Customer Effort Scores (CES), Customer service surveys, and of course, exit interviews. 

Questions to ask during a client exit survey

When conducting a customer exit survey, it’s important to develop the questions in a certain way so that the results are beneficial and the customer feels heard. Some important best practices include asking open-ended questions, limiting the survey to a few key questions, and avoiding the use of leading questions.  

If you’re not sure how to ask customer exit questions, here are some helpful examples to start with: 

  • How was your experience with us? (Answer on a scale of 1-10)
  • What did you like most about interacting with our brand? 
  • Is there anything we could have done better?
  • How easy was it to get the support you needed from our customer service team? (Answer on a scale of 1-10)

For more information on how to ask for customer feedback, read our list of customer satisfaction survey questions. It illustrates how to formulate survey questions in a way that encourages detailed answers along with 18 example questions you can use in your surveys. 

Can an exit survey keep a customer from leaving?

For the most part, customers that are leaving a brand are difficult to win back because, at that point, their mind is made up. However, in some situations, a tactful exit survey paired with helpful service could be enough to make them consider staying. 

The cost of acquiring a new customer is three to thirty times higher than that of retaining an existing customer so it’s well worth doing what you can to stop them from leaving. If you want to improve your customer retention rate, you need to close the customer feedback loop by asking them how they feel, acting on their feedback, and assessing the changes you make. It helps to ask for people’s feedback before they’ve decided to leave so including customer feedback surveys at earlier stages of their journey with you could help save a relationship before the customer leaves.

Turning unhappy customers into promoters 

Exit surveys are a great opportunity to convert unhappy customers into brand advocates because the way you handle the situation can show them how attentive your brand is. If a customer is unsatisfied with your brand, you can take steps to resolve their concerns and mitigate the issues which will dramatically shift how they feel. This change is likely to inspire them to share with others how helpful your brand was, through word of mouth and online reviews.  

The only way to stop customers from leaving your business is to learn what they like and don't like. Customers have increasingly high expectations of Customer Experience, and won’t tolerate being treated like a number. So to tap into how your customers feel, you need to ask them directly. 

Customer Feedback Management

The good news is that you don’t have to do it all on your own. To help you manage your customer feedback, Review Tui has everything you need to collect, measure and analyse responses from your valued customers at any point in the customer journey. If your customers are happy, unhappy, leaving, or staying, customer feedback is a crucial tool. Our downloadable guide will help you to implement a customer feedback strategy and lead you through the whole process. 

Download our free customer feedback strategy guide