Customer Experience

Five Ways to Lose Your Customers

Bad Customer Service

Want to lose your customer? Deliver a bad customer service experience. And it doesn’t really have to be that bad. Sure, if it’s flat out abysmally terrible customer service you’ll most likely lose the customer, but sometimes it’s much less obvious. It can be an attitude of indifference. So, let’s get specific. Here are five ways that are guaranteed to make your customers question if they made a good decision to do business with you.

  1. Don’t acknowledge the customer. Ever walk into a store and see employees standing around. They are paying attention to everyone except for you, the customer. I remember checking into a hotel years ago. I walked up to the front desk with a heavy suitcase in tow, and the clerk was typing away on his computer. After about 30 seconds, which by the way seemed like much longer, the clerk looked up at me and said, “I’ll be right with you.” About a minute or so later he looked up at me and asked, “Are you here to check in?” I was nice, but I wanted to say, “What do you think?”
  2. Don’t care about the customer. There’s an expression that is attributed to John Maxwell that says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If there is one important part of customer service, it is that you care – and the customer knows it. Apathy kills the relationship and true caring and concern for the customer trumps all.
  3. Don’t listen to the customer. Customers want to be heard, and equally as important, understood. It’s one thing to make an error on an invoice. It may irritate the customer a bit to have to call and spend time getting it resolved. But if you have a problem that is due to a breakdown in communication, well that is the worst Moment of Misery you can have with your customer. The customer will say, “I don’t like doing business with them. They just don’t listen and understand me.”
  4. Don’t respond to the customer. It is so frustrating to leave a message on the phone, send an email or a Tweet, and get no response. A bad customer service situation gets worse when the company doesn’t respond to the complaint or problem.
  5. Don’t appreciate the customer. A fundamental need of most, if not all people is to feel appreciated. Customers want to be appreciated for spending their hard-earned money at your place of business. So say, “Thank you!” Send a thank you note or an email. Let your customers know you appreciate them.

So, now I’ve given you five. How about sharing what you would add to this list.

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  Discuss This Article

Comments: 6

  • Hi Shep,

    Thanks for putting this list together. You have definitely hit on some key points of contention when it comes to providing – or in some cases, not providing – customer service. I think a lot of companies are now struggling with the changing market landscape. It isn’t just about in-person interactions any more. Some may venture to say that the majority of a brand’s interactions with customers now take place in a virtual environment. Face-to-Face customer service has become more limited and rare, which on one hand makes it so incredibly precious, and on the other, makes developing a customer service strategy in the virtual world incredibly important, especially when it comes to social media.

    That being said, a sixth way to lose customers is to avoid updating your customer service strategy to accommodate social channels. At LiveOps, we have developed a clear Escalation Management strategy for handling incidents that take place in the public arena, such as Twitter or Facebook:
    1. Listen to your customer
    2. Categorize the comment or tweet
    3. Route the comment or tweet to the right department where the best answer can be provided
    4. Templatize responses
    5. Personalize those templates so your company does not appear to be a robot
    6. Analyze how customers respond to how an issue was resolved

    Keep the tips coming! In this ever-evolving landscape of customer service, we are never short on opportunities to improve the customer experience and extend customer lifetime value.

    Thank you,

    Ann Ruckstuhl, SVP and CMO, LiveOps

    • Ann, thanks for your amazing comment. You are spot on. The company that doesn’t agree with this surely has their “head in the sand.”

  • Dear Shep, Thank you for the timely article. I read it and plan to share it with my current management and teammates. The information you provided here is a great reminder for us in the hospitality industry (I am an assistant manager in a military club on base) to “thank the customer”.

    Each evening as we’re closing and I’m saying good night to our patrons, I nearly always say Thanks for coming here (admittedly I fail to do this simple gesture 100% of the time). I realize it more than my teammates that without their patronage, I, rather we, wouldn’t have jobs at the club. Sadly, simply saying Thank You to our customers is not shared by all of us. I want to change our environment and I will use your article, giving you full credit of course, to help me motivate my teammates. Thank you Sir.

    • Hi Terry – Glad to be of service! Seriously, happy you enjoyed the article. Showing appreciation is a basic expectations. Can’t forget to say, “Thank you!” Keep being amazing!

  • I recently stepped into a marketing role for a company whose main customer frontline does not know the first thing about customer interaction and we are constantly being bashed in online reviews because of this department. This will definitely help in my training initiatives to improve the department and get upper management to understand why we need to step it up. Thank you!

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