How do companies frequently drive off customers? Although the list is ever-growing, here are some proven techniques:
- Insult them in an ad. There is a home improvement store that I will go out of my way to avoid because of its ads of a couple of years ago which portrayed men as wimps.
- Have an ultra-confusing website. When they make you spend an hour or more trying to get a simple telephone number or chopping through a jungle of questions, they've made a lasting impression.
- Have poor customer service at Customer Service. Have you ever left a message with the Customer Service folks that wasn't returned for days?
- Don't apologize when you screw up. It is noticed when they jump ahead several steps and forget to acknowledge that something went wrong.
- Treat job applicants in an indifferent manner. Those people who apply for jobs are customers or potential customers. They also have a sizable pool of friends and relatives who won't forget how HR jacked around someone dear to them.
- Keep one unenthusiastic sales person on your payroll. Calculate how many people that employee can turn off in the course on a month.
- Create a language barrier. Have a Customer Help Line that is staffed by people with a remote understanding of English and who speak with such a strong accent that the customers have difficulty understanding what is said. [Another version is the computer store where the sales reps speak exclusively in computerese and smirk when asked for an explanation in plain language.]
These are easy ones. Any others?