how to quickly lose a customer

How to Lose a Customer in Ten Ways

Each year the Customer Experience Impact Report delivers astounding statistics regarding consumers' shopping experiences and how they shape a business's overall success. Many statistics are directly correlated to customer service experiences. From these statistics and experience, I've compiled ten sure-fire ways to lose your customers.

1) Poor Customer Service

82% of unhappy customers will not do business with your company again after a poor experience. Poor customer service examples can include rude employees, treating customers as though they are a bother, ignoring customers, or not giving the customer undivided attention. Of those people that decided to take their business elsewhere, 73% did so as a reaction to rude employees.

2) Don't Provide Training

Of the 82% of customers who left your business, 51% did so because of an unknowledgeable staff. Many business owners feel that providing training is a waste of time and money. Their hope is that the new employee will quickly learn the business, products, policies, etc. They may even believe that the employee will take the time to learn this information during personal hours. However, this is often not the case. If the employee does not clearly understand the complex aspects of your products, how do you expect them to provide even basic satisfactory customer service?

3) Shuffle Responsibility

Nothing aggravates a customer more than to hear "this is not my fault" or "this is someone else's mistake." We don't really care who made a mistake; we just care who is going to fix this mistake.

4) Keep Them On Hold

While it is reasonable that there are instances when placing a customer on hold is necessary, there are proper methods to doing so. Don't leave a customer on hold for more than a few moments without returning to assure them you are still on the line. And always, always ask their permission before placing them on hold.

5) Don't Listen

Most customer service representatives make the mistake of hearing only the first line or two of the customer's inquiry and begin to form their response. They do not take the time to clearly understand the entire situation and in return, cannot usually offer an acceptable resolution.

6) Don't Respond

It is without doubt that customers expect a prompt response from customer service representatives via the telephone. However, with increasing online platforms such as e-mail, chat, Facebook, or Twitter, statistics have found that customers expectations are just as high, if not higher. 58% expect a response should they leave a comment on a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter. 42% expect that response within a day, while 2% expect an immediate response within one minute. Ignoring complaints or brushing them away will only aggravate the customer more, who will most likely make it a point to have their complaints heard by a larger audience.

7) Don't Follow-up

If there has been an issue or complaint, do an immediate follow up to ensure that a resolution was reached. In fact, it may be your only chance for a dissatisfied customer to return. 63% of those polled stated that they would return to the business if they received a follow up phone call from a supervisor.

8) Don't Offer Words of Appreciation

Although it doesn't cost anything and only takes seconds, many customer service representatives neglect to say "thank you" or "have a nice day" at the end of a phone call. The customer may have just spent $500 at your company and will be deeply offended should you not show gratitude.

9) Break Promises

If your company has a clearly displayed mission statement or policies, expect to follow them. If you guarantee a "no questions asked return policy," you must stick with it. Neglecting to follow your promises will cause distrust in your customers.

10) Don't Offer a Resolution

Customers do not want to hear “can't,” “won't,” or “impossible.” Strive to do whatever necessary to reach an acceptable resolution for the customer.

If your company doesn't depend on customers, go ahead and follow our list of ten ways to lose a customer. However, if your company does depend on customers (and whose doesn't?) it's time to start taking customer service seriously.