Customers Hate Your Company without You Knowing It

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton

It is harsh – but it is true that there would always be times when customers hate your company, and you would not even know. Even the companies with the best intentions, those that try to serve customers well, would have times when their customers believe that the company does not care, and would end up hating it and leaving. Serving customers is no mean task, but what makes it harder is the fact that since service is through people, there are bound to be flaws and lapses. While customers may be prepared to forgive a few lapses, they are unable to tolerate extended periods of inefficiency and poor service. For a company these may seem like small problems given that they deal with similar problems all the time, but for customers their problems are unique and important. It is an expectation from the customer that their problems are treated with respect and when this does not happen, the resentment begins to build for a company.

Hate is a strong word, and companies may say that it is rather extreme but the fact is that customers would be brewing in their discontent because of what they perceive as poor service, without saying anything, and ultimately may leave. While they may not immediately turn to a competitor, they could show their hate for a company by writing nasty comments, speaking about their poor experiences via social media, and spreading negativity about your company in several way. It is important for your company to look out for these signs, clearly indicating that customers hate your company, and if something is not done to placate them, the negativity could cause some serious harm to your company. The challenge is that some of things your company may be doing that would be annoying your customers, could be things that your company may not even know it is doing. Wait times, inefficient IVR, minor incident of rude customer service, and other such seemingly minor irritants, could be enough to build resentment and hatred for your company in the minds of customers, and the minute they can get better treatment from another company, they will leave without warning.

If customers hate your company, it is unlikely that they would leave alone. They are sure to negatively influence other existing and prospective customers, which could mean reduction in business and damage in the reputation of the company. It is extremely hard in the business world today to retain customers as it is, and it is even harder to attract new ones. Companies work very hard and invest a lot when trying to gain new customers, and all of the effort goes waste when they lose customers for reasons that could easily have been managed. The harsh reality for many is that customers hate your company without you knowing it, and this hatred could be the reason for the breakdown of the company for good. It would be prudent to remain aware of the possible reasons that customers hate your company, such that you know exactly what you do that leads them away.

We have mentioned several times that customers prefer doing business with companies that are empathetic and care about them. If customers hate your company it is possibly because your company appears cold, distant, and uncaring. Customers want to see the humane side of a company, and the first place they seek information about a company is through the website. A company that is empathetic would probably have a website that loads fast, is easily navigated, has updated and useful content, and allows easy access to the visitors. This is an area that many companies neglect, and end up irritating customers without even knowing they did. A company with an online store could also be at the receiving end of customer ire and hate. Today’s customer is impatient and if the ‘page’ does not open fast enough, or they have trouble shopping, they are extremely likely to abandon the transaction, and shift to another store that is easier to access. Similar products and services are available everywhere – what differentiates a company for customers is the kind of customer service and the treatment they receive from the company. Slow websites and poor experiences while shopping in the online store are two reasons that could begin customer angeer, and if your company does nothing about it, could lead to pronounced hatred and loathing for your company.

Another reason why customers hate your company could be that you keep them holding on and waiting for too long. Call wait times, inefficient online chats, slow responses via email and or social media are some of the top pet peeves of customers, and yet companies are guilty of these ‘crimes’ consistently, perhaps because they do not realize that they are doing them, or they believe that these are minor problems that would not affect customers. It is vital for companies to awaken to the fact that waiting is something customers hate – irrespective of the duration of the wait. Customers expect that they would receive swift and clear responses from the company, that the service representatives would have excellent communication skills, be knowledgeable and be empowered enough to make certain decisions without having to ‘pass on the issue to a senior’. Customers want to be met by such efficiency irrespective of who in the company they may connect with.

The possibility of why customers hate your company is high if your company seems incapable of keeping the promises it made – spoken and unspoken. Customers are quick to perceive broken promises, and are unforgiving of even a single instance. This annoyance is compounded when the company remains unaware of its broken promises and does nothing to make things better with its customers. Often the company’s sales teams over promises to customers in a bid to make a sale and get a commission. However, the problem arises when the service representatives are unable to meet those promises, either because they are unaware of the promises or because the company does not empower them to come through on them. Either way customers end up getting frustrated, and the resentment builds to hatred silently but surely, without the company knowing, and realizing it only when customers leave and begin spreading negativity about the company.

Customers hate your company for sure when you do not make them feel valued and important. Companies usually provide only lip service saying that they value their customers. However, in most cases the courtesy and politeness lasts only till the time that customers buy something. Post the sale, the company does not bother connecting or engaging with its customers in any manner, leaving customers feeling ‘cheated’. Customers expect to see gratefulness on the part of the company for the business they provide. However, companies forget to say thank you or extend special treatment to their customers, especially the ones who may be more profitable than other customers. Forgetting existing customers becomes a norm, since companies are always seeking to expand their business by attracting more customers. However, existing customers will always be more valuable and profitable than new customers, and it must be a business imperative to care for the existing ones since they can potentially bring in more business for a company. Turning existing customers to haters would be a disastrous move on the part of any company, as this could potentially have a spiral effect, turning many more customers away.

Take a good hard look at your company to ascertain whether there are things you are doing to make customers hate your company, and stop them now. In today’s intelligent and competitive environment it would be foolish and self-defeating to go against or negate customer expectations and needs.

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