😱 How To Scare Away Good Customers

I constantly find it amazing how many companies truly do their best to turn away their customers or avoid finding new ones.

Yes, I know that this sounds a bit cynical, but it is confirmed in real life almost each day. Let me share three examples in which you might even find practices of your own company, at least to a certain extent. I’ll then give you some ideas about how to change these practices for the better. 

The owner of a restaurant in Zurich / Switzerland was staring at my wallet when I pulled out my credit card to pay and mentioned: “I see you have cash. Why don’t you pay with this? You know, I have to pay a fee for credit card transactions!” When I confirmed that I still want to pay by credit card he stated that we have to wait a while for the machine to pay. And yes, he let us wait another five minutes to do so. I will certainly never go there again nor will I leave a nice review on Trip Advisor. By the way, the food was not bad and the ambiance was good, but that doesn’t matter any more. 

Long time ago, I changed my proofreading service after I had been with the former one for quite a few years. It must be easy for them to notice that my spending abruptly dropped down to zero. Guess whether I ever got any reaction, even an automated one? You’re right: Nothing! Their delivery processes are highly effective and efficient; however, they lose customers because of their poor marketing and customer care. 

The German railway company "Deutsche Bahn" recently sent me an automated reply to a request that looked like this: “We receive many emails each day. This is why our response can sometimes take a little more time.” What can I as a customer do with this reply? Nothing! No commitment to any service level is certainly very effective if you want to turn down customers. 

Do you see the pattern in these very different examples of extremely poor customer service? Here are three ideas how you can break these destructive patterns for your area of responsibility: 

  1. No matter in which position you are: take responsibility for delivering outstanding customer service. Never blame any other department and certainly never blame your customers. If you consciously want to turn down a customer, then do it openly. However, don’t hide behind excuses and bad service levels.
  2. Make it a priority to keep loyal (and profitable) customers, no matter what. I am constantly surprised by how few businesses have repeatable systems in place to turn prospects into customers, customers into repeat buyers, and repeat buyers into loyal fans.
  3. Most simply, always treat your customers like you would want to be treated yourself. This advice is so old that it is almost embarrassing to even mention it. However, most businesses forget this over and over again.


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