The 12 Most Awesomely Spectacular Ways to Lose Customers

by Jeannie Walters

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Have you discovered 12Most yet? It’s still a toddler of a site, just live for a few weeks now, and yet we’re stirring up all sorts of good things. I was honored to be included as a guest blogger a few times now. (Special shout out and thanks to site idea-man Dan Newman and site master extraordinaire Sean McGinnis!)

I thought some readers here would appreciate this list. Here are my 12 Most Awesomely Spectacular Ways to Lose Customers.

An occupational hazard of my role as a customer experience consultant is, well, noticing things. I tend to pay attention when companies do things really well for their customers and when they don’t.

I notice how easy it is to lose customers. There are lots of easy, simple, subtle ways to drive customers to your competition. You can ignore them, mostly. So those ideas are for another day.

And then there are the companies who really go above and beyond to lose customers. They create cultures that literally breed contempt for the very people they should be grateful to each and every day. I’ve been squirreling away these examples of really spectacular ways to lose your customers.

1. Hire awesomely bad people

Some people should never interact with customers. Does it ever work when you hire them and try to force the fit? NO, no it does not.

2. Send out communications that are not only confusing, but misleading and borderline criminal

“Congratulations, you’ve been upgraded!” When this message is linked to paying more for a service you didn’t want and can’t cancel, that’s a great way to tick off a customer.

3. Blame the customer!

Yes, customers get confused. We even do things wrong. We might not understand your process or misunderstand your rules. But please don’t get snippy. We’re just trying to support your company (and your paycheck) with our business.

4. Ignore feedback

It’s a hard truth that critical feedback is your best source of improvement. If your customers are talking, listen and respond. Or…just stick your head in the sand and think you know best.

5. Create systems that don’t work

This is an oldie but goodie. Force your customers to adapt to processes and systems created solely from an internal perspective. You know the ones created because salesand marketing have different goals so the customer has to jump through hoops? Those are awesome.

6. Raise prices, change the rules and provide less

Cable tv, mobile phone carriers and other service providers really like to rock this one. Don’t forget to communicate poorly!

7. Promote the worst people

One of my favorite tricks in retail – find the surliest employee and make him manager! That way, when customers complain, they get the royal treatment.

8. Undermine innovation

Nothing like stagnation to drive your customers away. Let your competitors innovate – you’re happy to stay in 1985.

9. Accept anyone as a customer

Don’t just accept them, ask for them to become customers over and over. Never mind if they don’t need your product or service and will be perpetually disappointed.

10. Accept nobody as a customer

Make it nearly impossible to become a customer. Don’t call prospects back, don’t make it easy to find information on what it’s like to be a customer.

11. Force good people to use bad scripts

Sure, you hired a great person to help customers from the call center. But, why trust them? Force them to use outdated and inauthentic scripts to annoy customers instead.

12. Pay no mind to your competition

Your customers are SO LOYAL they’ll stay with you no matter what, right? They won’t notice when your competitor is providing something better. Right…

Featured image courtesy of William Brawley licensed via creative commons.


 

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.

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