“No matter what business you’re in, to thrive you must fight the presumption that you know your customer.” – Jeremy Gutsche
As the market becomes increasingly competitive, louder, confused, and harried, customer patience conversely seems on the decline. They want things to happen, for companies to pay attention to their needs, to receive top class service and products, and be made to feel important. However, while your company may believe that it does all these things and more, the truth is that you might actually be annoying your customers in several ways. This lack of awareness is the root cause of most of the trouble that brews between a company and its customers. Would you as a customer want to associate with a company that irritates you, and or makes you angry? The worst part is that most customers may not react openly, but would soon enough move away from your company for another – leaving you wondering what you did wrong. The most important thing would be to recognize and accept that there could be a problem, and that your company is probably annoying your customers in some way.
The good news (well almost!) is that there are tell-tale signs indicating that you could be annoying your customers. In a previous exposition, we mentioned that while it is necessary to follow up with prospective customers and keep in touch with existing ones, it must be done with caution. Coming across as pushy, aggressive, and invasive is a sure shot method of annoying your customers. Companies tend to be overly aggressive and try to be crowd pleasers when they know too little about their target audience. Without understanding who your company may be speaking to or addressing its communication to, your company would be messing up by sending irrelevant information to certain groups of customers. As an increasing number of customers receive communication and messages that they would not have use of, their ire and irritation grows – often sharing these experiences with others. Annoying your customers can soon become a tidal wave of negativity that could engulf a much larger audience, blocking off several further opportunities for business.
Another grave mistake, which could be annoying your customers beyond measure, is your company being so focused on selling and getting its point across that it forgets to listen to what the market and customers may be saying. Constantly speaking and refusal to hear what customers have to say makes customers feel unimportant, while portraying your company as arrogant, closed, and domineering. It is unlikely that any customer (and employee) would want to work with a company that does not listen. Doing this often with existing customers would not only annoy them enough to leave, but they would ensure that they let everyone know about this aspect of your company. Imagine how such angry and negative comments would portray your company to the readers – many of whom could be potential customers. By annoying your customers, not only would you lose existing ones, you could kiss any potential business goodbye as well!
Sure customers would love to associate with a company that comes across as intelligent, knowledgeable, and in control of its own industry and that of the customer. However, this knowledge often translates to companies using ‘fancy’ words, that amount to jargon for customers. Using too many such words that customers fail to grasp leaves them feeling insecure, uncomfortable, annoyed, and even leads them to distrust the company. Using jargon seems like a company’s attempt at putting customer down and or sounding smarter than it actually may be. This behaviour is another trigger and definitely leads to annoying your customers. The worst part is that because company representative’s become so accustomed to speaking this way, they fail to see a problem and neither are they able to pick up on the recipient’s body language that could be ‘screaming’ with annoyance. Customers may display their ire and irritation in subtle ways, or openly show their annoyance, but most often, they would just leave the company for a competitor and post comments on social media sites for all to see.
In order to avoid annoying your customers, it would be necessary for the company and its representatives to have a clear focus and goal before they connect with prospective customers. We know that no one gets a chance to make a first impression and therefore it would be extremely critical for a company to use the opportunity to make a good impression and then build on it by making the effort to understand the goals, needs, emotions, challenges, and preferences of the prospective customer. Without such understanding, whatever your company conveys would sound like gibberish to the customer. You would want to understand thoroughly the customer in order to appear professional, and be able to get the customer to respond openly to any questions that you may have. Getting to know your customer versus pretending to know them, would be the difference between gaining a customer and damaging the company’s reputation, maybe irreparably.
Annoying your customers is easy if your company decides to use communication channels that may not be the preferred mode of the customer. With so many channels now available, customers want to have the leeway to connect with companies how and when they want. In order to keep customers happy, it would be helpful if a company connected with customers via the channel of their choice and if the company is unsure, asking customers their preference is the safest bet. Whatever mode of communication is chosen, customers should be able to use it from anywhere and from any smart device – should not limit them in any manner. The prime reason for any business is to give customers what they want rather than expecting them to work around what is convenient for your company.
We have mentioned that getting people to convert to becoming customers can be a harrowing experience. You could be annoying your customers – the prospective ones by expecting them to take you at your word, without any substantiating evidence for your claims. It would be easier to convince people and keep them calm if your company can get referrals from existing customers. This would soothe the nerves of the prospects and prevent them from getting annoyed or impatient with your attempts to ‘woo’ them, even if they may need your company’s offerings. It would be better to let prospective customers take their time to decide, rather than expecting responses at a pace your company wants. Annoying your customers is the easy part – what is tough is to reach out and ensure that they know your company is there to add value to them, and benefit their business. However, it is equally important to know when to back off / keep low such that prospects have enough time to decide what they want and which company they would like to work with.
Sales and marketing personnel, in any company have to meet numbers, targets, which would result in commissions, which in turn could lead them to do things, which could be annoying your customers. Hence, rather than getting more business, they could end up damaging the reputation of the company. It is the onus of a company to train its staff well, and ensure that they understand the difference between persistence and harassment. There are no benefits in annoying your customers – strangely, a large number of companies, still continue to excel at it.