Friday, September 17, 2010

7 Ways to Drive Off Customers

How do companies frequently drive off customers? Although the list is ever-growing, here are some proven techniques:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Have poor customer service at Customer Service. Have you ever left a message with the Customer Service folks that wasn't returned for days?

  4. Don't apologize when you screw up. It is noticed when they jump ahead several steps and forget to acknowledge that something went wrong.

  5. 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.

  6. Keep one unenthusiastic sales person on your payroll. Calculate how many people that employee can turn off in the course on a month.

  7. 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?


Mary Jo Asmus said...

One of my least favorite: hide the information about how to find customer service on a web site. Or don't put it on the site at all.

Michael Wade said...

Mary Jo,

Your point strikes a nerve. I just experienced that problem.



Ron said...

I once had a problem with customer service it was very poor, and the company was large. After a few weeks of not getting anywhere, phone or email. I had a guess at their email name format and found out who the boss was and emailed him along with forwarding all the emails I had...Wow he emailed me back, and called me, and thanks me for bringing the matter to his attention, so did several other line managers, the problem was fixed. My main concern was I shouldn't have had to email the BIG boss, which I apologized sincerely for doing just to get my minor problem sorted out....I would have thought a problem with their service delivery system, rather than an emotional problem on my part would have been important to them, well it wasn't important to customer service, but it was important to the company....