Listen to your customers' comments. I wouldn't try to argue or rationalize or "Yes, but" them. I'd objectively and respectively and devoutly want to see how they view my company and my people and my business, and I would ask them about the competition. I wouldn't pussyfoot around. I would say, "Let me ask you this question: Do you buy from the competition? If not, why not? If so, why? If so, what do they do that I don't do better? What do you like about them more than you like doing business with us? What about their products? Are their products better? Are their salespeople better?
By asking your customers questions on a continuous basis, you get the bonus benefit of bonding yourself to customers at a higher level than your competitors can ever imagine. More important, when you lose sales--either to people who don't purchase or people who used to purchase and stopped--you can almost always regenerate or salvage that business.
Most people stop buying for diverse reasons. One is certainly price, but it's often not the critical issue. More often than not, the customer does not feel that he or she is understood, or that their needs are fully appreciated and served. By securing a customer, client or patient cooperative, a partner-like contribution in making your business a greater provider for them, you endear, engage and ingratiate yourself with current, past and future customers at a level you can't believe.
That's the bonus. The literal benefit is that your customers, clients or patients will tell you all kinds of things that you're doing well that you might not even appreciate and on which you can focus greater effort, promotion and sales attention. If you assure them that you appreciate it, they will share with you insights into areas of performances in your company or people or product or services that may not be as superlative as you thought. You can ask them how you can improve, and they will tell you. All of that help is free!
The nest thing I would do is shop the competition. I would call them. I would visit them. I would then call people who I know are their customers. Or talk to people who I know are the competition's customers who I have the occasion to deal with.
And I would not do it covertly. I would ask them forthrightly, what do they like about my competitor's business. Why do they do business with them? What do they think about the product or service or the people?
And I'd listen with an eye--again going back to my philosophy of "adapt and adopt"--to learn what the competition does that I don't do.