Face the fact! Your business will not survive for long if you frustrate your customers. You need them as much as they need you, and if you annoy them, two things are almost guaranteed to happen.
- They will leave you in the dust, preferring to do business with your nearest rivals.
- Taking to social media and through general gossip, they will scupper your attempts to find other customers because of the bad word of mouth they spread about you.
It’s in your best interest to ensure neither happens, and the only way you can do this is by placing your customers at the heart of everything you do. Think of their needs before your own, and consider what you can do to improve your customer service. You see, if any of the following are true to your business, you will have some very frustrated customers on your hands.
These are the guaranteed ways to frustrate your customers.
- You don’t answer their phone calls. That ringing sound in your ears isn’t tinnitus! It’s your customer trying to get through to you. But if you’re too busy to pick up the phone, or if you are tired of speaking to your customers, one day that ringing will stop. Your customers will give up on you, and that will be a detriment to your business. There are a few things you can do, however, making life easier for both you and your customers. You could make use of telephone answering services to pick up the phone for you, in both your work and out-of-work hours. Alternatively, you could hire an extra staff member to take those calls. And you could implement more contact options on your website, with chatbots, contact forms, and your email details, as examples. Whatever you do, ensure your customer has a way to reach you before they stop communication with you forever!
- You use too much jargon. While you may be an expert in your field at what you do, your customers probably aren’t. Trying to impress them with fancy words when looking to make a sale, or littering your website with terminologies that require an advanced degree to understand, are both guaranteed ways to confuse and frustrate your customer. While you don’t want to talk down to them in a patronising manner, you at least want to use words that they are bound to understand.
- Your website is annoying. You probably rely on your website for the majority of your business needs. But if web pages are slow to load, if there are pop-ups on every page, if your text is unreadable, and if there is no clear way to get from A to B on your site, then you are going to frustrate your customer. If you ever wondered why your conversion rate was poor, this will be the reason why. Your customers won’t hang around for long on your website, and they won’t be encouraged to buy from you when your website has been put together without their needs in mind. Our advice is this: if you don’t have time to create an effective website, consider hiring a web designer. Alternatively, consider what annoys you when browsing the internet, and adapt your website accordingly.
- You are rude to your customers. There will be days when you feel tired, with moments when your patience threshold is at its limit. While the customer isn’t always right (despite that misguided belief), you should still operate with respect and kindness to the people you speak to. Yes, you may have an annoying customer who pesters you with too many silly questions, and yes, you may have a customer who wants to talk to you as if you are their best friend, and yes, you will get those people who will vent their frustrations at you in no uncertain times, BUT you must always be professional, being careful with the way you speak to them. While you shouldn’t tolerate their rudeness (it’s okay to cease communication if they are particularly offensive to you), you shouldn’t allow yourself to have bad manners when you are dealing with them.
- You don’t live up to your promises. When marketing your business, don’t state something that you can’t fulfill. ‘The best deal around’ isn’t the best deal when you hike up your prices. The promise of ‘speedy delivery’ isn’t much of a promise when you take forever to ship the customer’s purchase out to them. In all of your wording, on promotional material and your website, be honest with what you are offering, as you will only let your customer (and yourself) down if you can’t keep to what you promised.
These are only a few ways to frustrate your customers – you can probably think of more – but consider what we said, and use your experience, as both a customer and a business owner, to better shape your business. By doing so, your customers will be happy, and you will be happy once good word of mouth spreads about your company.
You can find out more about how to promote your business on this post from the App Institute.
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