Most companies at least try to serve customers well, even if some don’t succeed. But even the best-intentioned organizations can create problems for their customers, often without even realizing it. Because no matter how good a job you’re doing at relating to your customers, blindspots can be a problem for any company.
The problem is, these blindspots can appear all over the place. So we thought we’d start a series of articles on a few of the places we’ve commonly seen annoyance or resentment build up amongst customers.
No, this isn’t even close to being a laundry list. But as always, when comes to delivering a better experience and better serving your customers, having a place to start is the first step towards resolving it.
So take a look at the below, and ask yourself: “Is this something we do to our customers?” If the answer is yes, the next question is easy: “How can we stop?”
- You disempower your customer.
More than ever, customers of all types have anytime, anywhere access via mobile and online platforms that give them some control over their interactions with you. But this power doesn’t always translate to positive feelings for your business. The reality is, customers may hate you for small infractions, such as having annoying videos on your website that play automatically. On the other end of the spectrum, you may be offending with actions that make your customer feel powerless and betrayed.
There’s a real psychology behind why people don’t like companies such as cable providers, big banks, and telecoms. The underlying cause of this sentiment is an imbalance of power. For example, when companies cut services and raise prices, consumers can’t control much due to their contracts or the cost of switching services. Companies use their power against their customer, and this makes for a shaky relationship. (Note: In the McorpCX loyalty model, we call these customers ‘captives.’)
From a business perspective, you may think these kind of actions are logical and reasonable. But organizations need to stay sensitive to the broader social contracts under which most people live. If the scales are tipped in the ways you’re dealing with your customers, it’s time to reconsider a more mutually beneficial relationship, one that builds trust and creates goodwill.
- There’s too much “me” in your social media.
In the real world, nobody likes a braggart. It’s also a common sentiment that self-absorbed friends can be tiresome. (“So Todd, that’s fascinating. Now, let’s talk about me…”) So what makes any brand think these qualities are appealing in the realm of social media?
Customers get frustrated when companies use social media as a broadcast channel — effectively missing the “social” part of the equation. This behavior takes all kinds of forms, from brands talking too much about themselves and liking their own posts, to trying to “trend-jack” any big news event to make the story about the company (remember the awful Prince memorial tweet by Cheerios?).
Instead, your social strategy should focus on keeping customers personally engaged. From better serving B2B customers to driving buyers, social media is a powerful tool that can deliver great experiences where your customers are, and help you bond with your audience. People who follow you on social media expect a certain kind of interaction, not generic or self-serving sales messages that build up resentment. When you don’t use social media properly, it’s not just a wasted opportunity, it can actually damage your brand.
- Your communications aren’t personalized.
In a digital age of customized feeds and product recommendations, customers have come to expect your communications to be relevant, personalized and targeted. Your customer may hate you because the information you send out is stuck in the “one-size-fits-all” era of mass communications. Yeah, the era which is now behind us.
The truth is, in a content-saturated environment, customers have no patience for irrelevant offers much less impersonal communications. In a study conducted by Janrain, nearly three-fourths of online consumers said they would leave a site if shown the wrong promotion. Ouch.
So when you speak to your customer with relevant, personalized communications, you’re not just being financially smart. It’s how you create and maintain a good relationship with your customers, even in a “one-to-many” environment. It tells your customer that you hear and understand them – and that you respect their options, their attention, and their dollars.
Thankfully, with fast-growing tools such as intelligent marketing automation platforms and predictive technology, you can radically improve your all-up communications, keeping them relevant in our omnichannel, experience-driven, digitally-adept world.