Ever feel like you’ve been taken? Did you ever shop for something and feel so dirty during the buying process that you felt you needed to take a shower afterward? Even though you were pleased with the product, you felt that the buying experience was so sleazy it made your skin crawl.
What caused your unpleasant reaction? What can an organization do to avoid treating its customers this way?
What’s Turning Customers Off?
In today’s competitive business environment, it’s important that business leaders take a few minutes to consider the following. Are you or your organization guilty of any of these 12 actions (or inactions)? They are sure turnoffs for your customers.
- Appearances. If your office decor is dated, your customer may wonder whether your recommendations will be behind the times.
- Understanding customer needs. If you’re giving a boilerplate sales pitch, your customer may wonder whether your organization really cares about their needs.
- Pride. If your emails contain typos, your customer may wonder — if you’re too lazy to run spell-check, what other details are being overlooked?
- Responsiveness. If your employee doesn’t respond to emails promptly, your customer may wonder if you’ll make yourselves available when they have a problem.
- Reliability. If your employee is late for meetings, your customer may wonder whether your organization can be trusted to finish the job on time and within budget.
- Dependability. If your employee cancels a scheduled meeting, your customer may wonder if you value other customers more than you value them.
- Competence. If your salespeople can’t answer basic product questions, your customer may wonder — if you hire mediocre people, could your product be any good?
- Courtesy. If your employee doesn’t know the consumer after all these years, your customer may wonder if you’ll take their business for granted.
- Security. If your employee’s appearance is disheveled and his papers are sloppy, your customer may wonder whether their personal information is safe and secure.
- Access. If your employee is impossible to get in touch with before the sale, your customer may wonder how they’ll be treated after the sale.
- Communication. If your customer learns about a policy change before hearing it directly from your employee, they may wonder whether the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.
- Commitment. If your organization has excessive turnover, your customer may wonder what your employees know that they don’t.
Avoid These Actions at All Costs
You undoubtedly recognize the damage the preceding factors can have on your business! They can weaken any customer relationship. BUT those activities pale in comparison to the destruction caused by even the appearance of deception and dishonesty. The truth is, some items on the previous list can be attributed to stupidity or incompetence, but being dishonest isn’t an innocent mistake — it’s a deliberate act to deceive. Ever feel like you’ve been taken?
Here are 11 actions that are more than turnoffs. These actions will make your customers feel like they’re being taken — and you may face legal problems. Avoid the following at all costs:
- Deceiving the customer through bait-and-switch tactics.
- Applying extreme pressure to force a hasty decision.
- Distorting or exaggerating the truth in order to deceive.
- Communicating in a haphazard manner to throw the customer off balance.
- Withholding or omitting key information to intentionally mislead.
- Burying details in the fine print to hide unfavorable information.
- Breaking promises or commitments to benefit yourself.
- Passing the buck and deflecting blame to avoid accountability.
- Presenting unfinished work as complete.
- Changing the terms of the agreement after an understanding is reached.
- Being unwilling or unable to provide support after the sale is made.
Anybody who says “I didn’t mean to lie” is being dishonest.
A Customer for Life
Many businesses view a sale as an isolated event, rather than as a long-term relationship with a customer. They believe that if a transaction is handled poorly, the cost is merely the loss of a single sale. Nothing could be further from the truth. You may lose the customer forever.
When you’re in front of a customer, you may think you’re only selling a product, but that’s rarely the case. A long-term relationship hinges on trust and credibility. That doesn’t happen by short-changing the customer. Everything you say and do will strengthen or weaken the bond of trust. The next time you’re selling a product, remember that customers expect more than merchandise; they want to buy from a person they can count on and an organization they can trust. Character matters!
Ever Feel Like You’ve Been Taken?
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