You could fill the libraries of the world with books on how to earn customers and their return business, but what about how to lose one? Or two? Or several?
To be quite honest, you have far more chances of losing a customer than gaining one, just like you have a lot more ways to die of thirst than of excess of water in the Sahara desert.
Here are 10 things that are proven to ruin your chances with a customer:
1. Care more about your bottom line than the customer’s needs. By now you’ve hopefully heard the saying, “the customer is always right.” Well, they are (except for those few times when they probably aren’t, right?), and it’s time we made sure we treated them like it. Your customers are your bottom line, so worry about them first and the rest will come.
2. Don’t ask for the sale. It’s sales 101 and, really, nothing is more important to a sales pitch than the close. If you don’t ask for the sale, if you don’t extend the invitation, and if you don’t
3. Don’t nurture the relationship. Your customers aren’t cattle to be herded and brought to the glorious well that is your company. They are individuals with unique wants and needs, and each has had a unique interaction with your company. Nurture this relationship for it to grow, or else it will dwindle and die.
4. Never respond to questions and/or complaints. This seems like a no-brainer, but even in our ultra connected world of wireless megaphones some companies still have trouble answering the questions and complaints of customers. Do yourself a favor and listen where your customers are and answer them as quickly and succinctly as possible. You have little to lose and much to gain.
5. Overload them with junk mail. Just think about how nauseated you get at the sight of every piece of spam that comes into your email inbox and use that as a measurement for how much you should be sending out to your customers. Keep in touch, but don’t overload them with too much junk mail or you’ll lose their attention.
6. Wait for them to get back to you. While your customer needs your product or service, they might not know it yet or they might not have much motivation to take the leap. Don’t lose sight of them or wait for them to call your phone. Be proactive, find what they are missing to push them over the edge, and help them understand the need.
7. Don’t apologize after you’ve made a mistake. This one goes beyond company-customer etiquette and into the common decency category, but please: if you make a mistake, apologize and try to make it right. Don’t brush it under the rug, don’t cover it up. Being completely honest with the customer and trying to make your product or service the best possible will allow them to trust you in return and come back the next time.
8. Hide important information from them. This one is a big no-no and that’s final. Never, ever hide important information from your customers. You’ll be walking down a long road to a fatal crash and a long recovery. Just. Don’t. Do it.
9. Forget every job you’ve ever done for them. Don’t make the huge mistake of forgetting or misplacing the project history for a customer. That history helps you understand your customer at the most basic level and provides a caring front for when they need to talk to you again. Be sure to track everything you do in some type of project management software in order to pull up their records at a moment’s notice.
10. Don’t use CRM to manage your customer relationships. Forget they even exist, and you’ve got a perfect formula for failure. Don’t get caught with your trousers down when a customer comes in and asks if you remember them. This is especially important if you have an ongoing project or support issue that has yet to be resolved. Letting your customer know you have everything noted and are on top of things provides them the confidence they need to put their full trust in you.