3 Ways Some Customers Are Like the Dreaded New Driver


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…they think they know what they want but too many choices spoil their shopping experience.

Your eyes were bugged-eyed open, and they darted back and forth hoping to see everything (but they never did). Sweat started, a little at first, then it seemed to flow from every pore and made your clothes stick to places you didn’t even know you had. Your hands tightly gripped the steering wheel while you prayed no one crossed your path and if they did, heaven help them. Remember what it was like to be the dreaded new driver? I do…

We loved the freedom. Freedom of movement, freedom from relying on others, and freedom of choice to go wherever we wanted. But this freedom came at a price.

As a driver, whether a new one or not, our choices have consequences. One wrong decision and we’re in for a heap of trouble. No wonder why so many new drivers get confused and have a difficult time navigating their new surroundings.

Some customers have the same problem. They “think” they know what they want but too many choices spoil their shopping experience. Here’s what I mean.

Sensory Overload

For a new driver, those they share the road with; other cars, pedestrians, traffic lights, sun glare, pets, balls rolling into the street, etc. come at them with lightning speed. Where to look becomes more challenging than controlling the car. Senses heighten and nerves get on edge. It’s overload time. What to do?

This happens to customers too. The sights and sounds of today’s retail businesses try to outdo each other while they compete for consumer dollars. Lights, bold colors, fancy furnishings, and signs with beautiful people litter the store. Where to look, what’s the hottest new trend, which coupon to use, and where to find the best deal? It’s too much for some customers who simply give up and never buy anything.

Can’t Make Quick Decisions

Ever see a driver put on their blinker, hit the brakes, and drift onto the exit lane only to pull back at the last minute and continue driving straight? Sure, we all have. They’re trying to guess if this is the exit they need or not. I can understand that, but you can’t be indecisive while going 65 miles an hour.

In a similar light, some customers can’t make up their mind when given too many choices to make. Should they take the red one, the blue one, or just stay with what they already have; white? Should they take the extended warranty or pass on it. Do the pants fit as expected of should they try another size or style? Should the get the one that’s on sale or stay with their usual brand?

These are everyday decisions that we all make. Some make them quickly and others mull it over for days or weeks until they’re confident their decision fits within their budget, style, and comfort zone. And some, never make a choice and pass on the purchase altogether because to decide, is difficult for them.

These are the most challenging customers to deal with. No matter what you do you’ll come across as too pushy, too aggressive, and too overbearing a salesperson. These customers are “drainers”. They drain you of all your energy and substitute that with frustration.

Can’t Afford The Luxury Model

Most people have limits. Limits on time, patience, and money. We all want the luxury model but most times it’s out of our price range, especially for our first car. We buy the mid-range model. It works but we wish we had the heated leather seats, moon roof, and all the other bells and whistles. It’s our first car, it’s precious, and it ours. We treat it well.

Then, we notice a scratch, a paint chip, or a dent. We freak-out and look for someone to blame. “That guy parked too close to me; he must have dented my car with his door. Can you believe this?” you yell. Now you want to take out your frustrations on him or worst yet, get revenge…

There was no thought that maybe you parked your car in a bad spot. Maybe a fallen tree branch scratched your hood, or the neighborhood skateboard kid dropped a knee into your door because you parked right off the corner. Sometimes what we do creates our own misery.

Customers are like that too. They purchase lower quality products and get angry when they don’t perform like the high-end ones. They assume the features are the same when clearly, they aren’t. At first glance, the product performs but as time passes the imperfections of a mid-range product appear. Now, it’s time for the customer to complain.

Facetime with an upset customer is something no service provider ever wants to have. But as we all know, it’s part of the job.

Customer Complaints

Complaints come for many reasons. The customer got so excited when she saw the big sale signs that she took the item without realizing it wasn’t the best choice for her. Sensory overload caused her to be unhappy, but now it’s your responsibility to fix her problem.

The customer couldn’t decide which item to buy so he left without making a purchase. When he returned a few days later and realized his 20% off coupon had expired, he throws a fit and demands to see the manager. It’s not his fault he can’t make a quick decision, it must be the store’s fault. “They won’t let me use my coupon”, he says.

There are parallels in everyday life. Look are those around you. See how they act, see how they stand, and see how they interact with others.

The customer’s personality is a window into their expectations of service.

An easygoing person usually isn’t a big complainer. A high achiever always looking to grab that allusive “brass ring” may be a problem when he doesn’t get the product performance he expects.

We don’t usually have an opportunity to know the personality of most customers beforehand. But if we rely on astute observation, listen to understand and “hear” the sometimes unspoken desires and expectations of the customer we will be better prepared to sell and service what’s in their best interest.

If not, it’s like being stuck behind that new driver who’s straddling the white line and has his blinker on for the last 3 miles. Frustrating at best.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve DiGioia
Steve uses his 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry to help companies and their employees improve service, increase morale and provide the experience their customers' desire. Author of "Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift...Even If You're a Bad Waiter" and named an "ICMI Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leader" and a "Top Customer Service Influencer" by CCW Digital, Steve continues his original customer service, leadership and management-based writings on his popular blog.


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