6 Ways to Ruin Customer Relationships
By Kevin Cundiff, VP of Retail for Fortegra
Providing a positive customer experience is an art form. And because of the effort it takes to be truly customer-friendly, there’s a lot of advice out there on just how to do it. But, while that advice is always beneficial, it might be more helpful to know which actions are off-putting to your potential and current customers.
It takes just seconds to make a bad impression. Not only can you quickly forfeit a sale and damage a relationship, the effects can spread to other potential customers who hear about that one bad experience.
Want to make sure your business isn’t thought of negatively? Here are six offensive actions you should avoid to ensure every customer has an excellent experience:
- Criticizing requests
It doesn’t matter if you think a request is ridiculous. Criticizing a customer’s inquiry can be embarrassing for them and can put you at risk of making them angry. Treat every request like it’s the most important one you’ve ever received so the customer feels like they’re more than just a number.
- Lacking adaptability
You should never allow customers to take advantage of you, but having a bit of flexibility goes a long way. If you’re completely rigid at every turn, your customers might see you as unwilling to go the extra mile. Being flexible proves you care about your customers and the extra effort can build loyalty.
- Badmouthing other businesses
You’ve been told not to knock former employers in job interviews, right? The same principle applies here. Don’t knock your competitors. It not only reflects badly on the individual, but also on the business as a whole.
- Disregarding loyalty
So you made a sale, and your customer returned. You can’t forget to reward them for their loyalty. They made a deliberate choice to return and your interactions with them should be just as deliberate. Creating a positive experience for them in this way will only increase their positive feelings toward your store, in turn, providing you with business beyond one or two transactions.
- Getting annoyed
No matter how many questions a customer may ask, or how long they may take to make a decision, showing irritation is a surefire way to drive them away. Most customers can pick up on even the slightest amount of irritation, which can make them uncomfortable. Even if they like your product, they’re not likely to forget the irritated salesperson.
- Making assumptions
Would you like it if you walked into a store and a salesperson immediately pushed an item toward you and said, “You’ll like this, and it’s probably right in your budget”? Probably not. Don’t make assumptions about your customers. Play it safe and ask questions to gain the information you need.
By staying away from these offensive actions you can avoid customers leaving with a negative experience. Remember: happy customers are essential to the success of your business!
Photo Details: Lavish in San Francisco, taken by Retail Minded.