4 ways to lose customers

Image by Travis S. via Flickr

I had a wonderful experience when I called Brooks Running Shoes to order a shoe yesterday. Ian, the phone rep, answered every question – KNOWLEDGEABLY! – about the shoe features, fit, availability, functionality, differences in reference to other styles…. there wasn’t a question I asked he couldn’t answer.

It’s pretty bad when this kind of experience is rare…

How stupid is that for a small business – or any business! So here’s my insensitive blast!

The 4 ways you lose customers by making help too damned difficult for them:

– Bad outgoing voice mail messages and menus

You’re already creating bad feelings when customers have to sit through a LONG menu of options. Don’t make it worse by making them have to repeat the menu to catch the right one because they lost track. Make ’em short and sweet with no more than 3 options!

– Long hold times

Ahhh, long hold times… the demise of many customer relationships and the fodder of viral YouTube videos…

– No comprendo “GEEK”

Make your FAQ page usable. Don’t make customers comb through hundreds of questions written in geek speak to try to find the answer to their question? And don’t say they can use the keyword search! Too often that results in dozens of possible questions that may or may not answer a question.

Categorize your FAQs! And put them in layman’s terms! Customers usually don’t speak “Geek!” 

– Long email support response times.

Why do you want to piss off your customer? An attitude of “I only have so many support staff” leads to “I only have so many customers – where did they all go?”  DUH. And what about the Social Media aspect of it all? Do you want your company pasted all over Twitter and Facebook??? …”[My company’s] customer service sucks!”

Bottom Line – and I think I speak for many customers…

  • I want to be able to just make a call or send a simple email request for help – PERIOD.
  • I don’t want to have to figure out which keywords might ultimately bring up an answer to my question.
  • I don’t want to have to fill out a form before I can ask for help.

All this CRM technology and online direct access should save us time. Instead, it often leads us to hair-pulling response time or website FAQ confusion with no ability to work until someone finally responds.

  • Give me a live, knowledgeable, American operator to talk to NOW!
  • Answer my email NOW!
  • Give me a live-chat operator NOW!
  • Have an FAQ page I can actually negotiate!

Thanks for listening… :S

Keep your customers by keeping them happy and informed!