How to Lose Customers (and Potential Customers) in Five Easy Steps

Companies with short-term vision, companies concerned only about making the sale and closing the deal, instead of building trust, credibility and relationships have mastered the following five tips on how to lose customers:

  1. Ignore them. During the busy holiday season, I conducted a little experiment.  I decided that I would only purchase items in stores where someone offered to help me.  I browsed each store with a list in hand, in same cases wandering multiple aisles trying to find an item on my list.  Thankfully my list wasn’t too long because I walked out of a lot of stores that had what I was looking for.  The number of employees who looked past me or who walked right by me without any acknowledgement was astonishing.  All they had to do to get me to pull out my credit card was acknowledge me and ask if they could help. That’s it.
  2. Talk down to them.  Sometimes customers ask stupid questions. Oh wait … no they don’t! They are valid questions to the customer. The customer is not the expert on your business or the products and services you offer.  You are!  Plus, there is a lot of incorrect information floating around that your customer may have heard.  Treat their questions with respect.  Making the customer feel stupid is not good for business.
  3. Take them for granted.  You are not doing the customer a favor by offering your product or service.  You are meeting a need, solving a problem, providing entertainment or joy, but chances are another company can also meet that need, solve that problem or entertain them.  When a customer chooses to spend their time and money with you instead of your competitor, that is a reason to be thankful.  Customers want to be appreciated. They want to feel valued and special.  Let your customers know you appreciate them.  Thank them for their business, their support and their loyalty.
  4. Make promises you can’t keep.  This isn’t about service breakdowns. Those happen to even the best of the best. (The best of the best have plans in place to deal with those breakdowns when they happen.) This is about telling someone a lie or stretching the truth in order to close a sale. It’s about deliberately omitting information on a product or service that if the customer knew, they would not purchase.  It’s about looking to close the deal instead of about looking to build a relationship.
  5. Spam them.  Just because we exchanged business cards at a some networking event does not mean you have my permission to add me on to every one of your mailing lists.  The same thing applies if I download a free whitepaper or fill out a form.  At the very least, let me know that if I do request a free download or complete a form, I will get multiple emails from you. That way I can decide if what you are providing is worth the email bombardment.

These are just five things I came up with.  What are some things that have turned you away from doing business with a company?   Please feel free to share by clicking on “Leave a Comment” at the top of this post.  

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