How to Lose Customers!

by | Oct 10, 2014 | Customer Service

Companies are inadvertently doing just this – running businesses that make them lose customers and may be on a regular basis. At first it may not seem like much but this losing begins to sabotage other customer relationships when others begin to hear about it. Customers hate being ignored and treated shabbily (just like all of us) and will ensure that not just their friends but everyone knows about it – using social media. That’s going to hurt sooner than later. Companies that constantly engage with their customers are able to develop long term relationships and connections with their customers. Companies that treat customers as transactions, and once the sale is made, forget to make the relationship work, are the ones that lose customers faster than they can actually react. Customer experiences, as we said earlier, is a journey and must be constantly worked at.
Let’s look at what companies are doing intentionally (!) or unintentionally that is making them lose customers faster than they can get new ones.

– Impatiently jumping from one customer to the next. They manage to make a sale, sign up the customer and then it’s on to getting a new one. Growing business is given an unbalanced weightage when compared to retaining. They are probably unaware of the fact that acquiring a new customer is way more cumbersome and expensive than retaining a current one.

– Customer service? What’s that? Such companies seem to never have heard of this and it takes numerous calls and excruciatingly long for customers to get a response for even a simple query. No calls or emails or any other form of communication is responded to.

– Don’t take feedback – they don’t seem to hear or want to act on what customers say. They never solicit customer feedback and if customers were to give them unsolicited feedback, it’s just a waste of their time.

– Such companies are smug in the belief that they know what they are doing and are the best at it. The company runs according to what they want to sell, when they want and as they want. Customers have no say since they don’t know what their customers want – links to the point above of no feedback taken.

– They focus solely on making sale after sale. Customer relationships are not important – just getting them to buy the company’s product or service is. Customers are not their priority.

– Schemes, new launches and the likes happen at the company’s whim and communication on such goes out when the company deems appropriate. What is important is what their business needs and wants so how can they let the customer decide!

– So the customer asked for something, argued over something – well they argue right back. It is not an effort to make it better, it is about proving themselves right.

– Someone visited their site or even just made a call, as a potential customer showing some interest begin to be bombarded with all kinds of communication. The texts, calls and emails become incessant and unrelenting. Stalking and being clingy – great ways to lose customers, even potential ones.

– They never call back or respond when they say they will. How can they have time for their existing customers when they are so busy ‘attracting’ new ones?

– Remembering names or important details of regular customers is too much to expect.

– Remember never to say please or thank you to customers. Common courtesy in a professional set up is a waste of time and unnecessary.

– All messages that go out from the company are broadcasts about how great the company has been – from the company’s point of view. There is nothing to suggest how associating with them will be beneficial for the customer or how useful their product or service would be for the customer. It’s all about the company.

– Customer service agents reflect this attitude completely – rude, apathetic and impersonal. Their attitude reflects that they are doing the customer a favor and that the customer should be satisfied with what they are receiving and not expect more.

– Never apologize for errors and or major service lapses. If the company feels like apologizing after whatever length of time, they will. Errors and major service lapses are not their fault.

– Personalization of messages or service is not done since it is a frill. How can they personalize their messages for so many customers – that is asking for too much.

– The office premises, warehouses, stores, branches – all brick and mortar facilities – are badly managed and are dirty and ill-kempt. Does that matter? They are providing products and service to customers – that’s all that matters.

– Look right through customers that do walk in to any of these premises. They are not expected to greet every customer.

– Don’t remember details of a complaint or issue a customer brought up. Make them repeat the information each time to a different agent or person. This is how customer service is done at this company – take it as it comes!

– The rote message on the IVR that tells the customer that their call / business is important to them – make the customer listen to it umpteen times by keeping them on hold for long, so that they believe it after hearing it so many times!

– Agents cross-over to creepy ever so often when they forget the distinction between building a courteous relationship and being too personal. They say and ask things that they may not have before and do not feel the need to explain why they need the information.

– Business strategies and policies are created for the company – customer focus is not required. Lose customers faster through this ingenious method!

– Existing customers are already giving business and so running schemes or specials should not be for them. These special schemes must be aimed at enticing new customers only. It is not required to make the existing customers feel valued and wanted. Lose customers in a few days – guaranteed!

– Never deliver on what you promise – delivery timelines, returns, guarantees – just do the opposite of what you promised. You have too many customers by keeping your promise – try this to rid yourself of some load!

– Repeatedly take on work that you can either not do or not do well. Single call resolutions, single transactions and the likes – take them on and then just mess them up.

– You can’t be too giving so you must limit certain terms for your customers. Payment terms should be whatever is convenient for you – customers must pay only by the methods you specify. This is not a buffet meal that you need to give the customer so many options. Stop giving them extra.

– A customer has a problem – that’s their problem. It’s not your job to eliminate these problems. Tell them varying things – like they are the only ones who have ever had such an issue, the issue really is not such a big deal, it won’t cost them much to get it fixed on their own, nothing we can do about it – lose customers swift and easy!

– Relentless customer keeps calling about the problem and you cannot stop that, so the next best thing to do is make your presence scarce. Become inaccessible and devise any method possible to keep that ‘problematic customer’ at bay. They really should handle their own problems.

– Reiterate company policies repeatedly and show as much red tape as possible. The company’s policies cannot be bent to make room for helping the customer. You are right and the customer is being unreasonable in making demands.

These are just some practices being followed by companies and using some or a combination of them are sure ways to irreparably destroy customer relationships. Use all of them and get set to lose customers – all of them and real soon. No one will be able to help you resurrect your business because each irate customer is sure to comment on visible platforms and also let their contacts know about how adamant you are to lose customers. Any of this sound familiar?

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