How to Lose Customers and Alienate People!
It never ceases to amaze me the number of businesses who appear to almost deliberately alienate potential customers by making buying their goods and services difficult!
There are of course thousands of excellent companies all over the world who go out of their way to help their customers, and genuinely care about customer service and creating long term relationships by building rapport.
Pimlico Plumbers in London is one, Park Plaza hotels generally too, and on the High Street you can’t go far wrong with HiFi and TV specialist Richer Sounds in my experience!
But some just don’t get it!
They make buying from them difficult with awkward to navigate websites, lack of parking and accessibility, lack of free delivery services and freephone numbers, as well as miserable and unapproachable staff!
Being genuine is very important as no one like an insincere smile, but really you should be pleased if someone walks in to your place of business as they might be about to buy something from you and after all that’s the whole point.
However booming the economy may be today (this was written on 23rd June – EU Referendum day before the result was announced), it should perhaps be remembered that it wasn’t that long ago we were being told that Britain was finished, the shops, restaurants and cafes were quiet with many retailers going out of business, and that the money had ran out!
Today, whilst in the EU, we have a growing economy and more people in work than at any time in history. Regardless of political views this is fact and to be stable enough to even consider an in/out referendum says a lot about how far the country has come in the last six years.
But why do some businesses make buying from them hard and as though you are doing them a favour? They are lucky you have chosen to spend your money with them and the fact is they almost certainly have a choice to go elsewhere! That’s what a strong economy creates after all, competition and choice and by enlarge lower prices for consumers.
In my opinion customers are the single most important asset to any business. Without them you don’t have any sales, and without sales you don’t have a business!
If you’re starting out, or are established in any industry but struggling, try making your customers life easy. Focus on them and people will flock to buy from you. Create fans of your business, like Apple and others have, rather than just customers who are indifferent to your organisation.
This needn’t cost you a lot of money or time! It will also almost certainly make your businesses a friendlier and more enjoyable place to work which will result in higher productivity from your staff and more customers wanting to visit your business!
Make them a cup of tea when they come in to your carpet shop of car showroom, offer to pay for their parking meter so they can browse inside and potentially spend money with you, help them to their car with the goods they’ve just bought from you with money they’ve most likely earned as the result of them giving their time elsewhere. This is particularly important with large purchases but it should apply even to buying a coffee or newspaper too!
It’s important to consider what you would want as a customer if you were visiting your business, the same sorts of things annoy most people and equally the same sorts of things make most people happy and wanting to return!
When the next downturn occurs, which it inevitably will, the businesses who looked after their customers in the good times will more than likely the ones who weather whatever storm may come in the future.
Put the customer first as after all as Henry Ford reputedly once said, “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”