It happens to the best of us – using the wrong model in a commercial, not having an organized helpdesk team, sending too many emails, not offering a living, breathing person for your customers to talk to, writing a cheesy slogan that seemed like a brilliant idea at first.
But among a world of mishaps and moves that will go down in company history labelled as “that horror story never to be told again”, there are a few slips and errors that seem to make it to the top of the list when it comes to getting on your customers’ nerves. Here’s what to avoid:
1. A website chaos
There are literally hundreds of sleek, easy to navigate designs, both in a template form and available with your favourite web designer, so why stick to that old, messy jumble? If a single look at your home page doesn’t give a clear idea of what your brand is about, what you have to offer and how they can get it, then in all likelihood, they will get the hell out of your page never to be seen again.
Moreover, they will tell their friends. And they won’t like it, either.
2. A check-out labyrinth
Everyone who sells anything online is trying their best to find yet another way to cut the customer journey shorter by a single click if possible, even if there are only two to begin with. And having a complex, confusing check out process is not a way to stand out in the market. If anything, it will make your sales plummet, and your online store will see a significant influx of visitors.
You can consult your internal IT team or hire an outside professional, but simplifying your web page will not mean losing relevant information – it can only help you create a better online presentation.
3. To email, or not to email
The very notion of emails seems to annoy quite a number of people, but some seem to take the biscuit. Emails you should never send include those that come in hoards, filled with fake apologies, with lengthy yet meaningless content and those that are promotional beyond sound judgement. Not to mention the ones that contain sensitive information, use belittling language or make Grammar Nazis rant for hours on end.
Stick to a regular schedule of a monthly or a weekly update with relevant information only, and you will make your customers eternally grateful, and more importantly, they will not resort to clicking the ominous unsubscribe button.
4. Automated customer service
Despite what the internet wants you to believe, even the introverts don’t want to talk to a machine when they experience a problem serious enough that they feel inclined to call the customer service in the first place. So once they go through a whole range of number pressing and option choosing in the hopes of reaching a person only to fail, they will likely switch to a different brand with the same or a similar product – of which there are many, you can rest assured.
Even some of the smallest companies can offer a designated time for callers to talk to real people, and that will not only humanize your brand, but also improve your customers’ bond with the company.
5. Sales call overkill
As polite and well-trained as your sales staff may be, if they don’t have an extensive base of customer data to rely on, they will likely end up calling that one customer (or ten, or twenty) too frequently, albeit with new pitch ideas, new products and new strategies to practice. But in order to avoid that “take me off your list” breakup line, you need to fine-tune your sales game.
Make sure that your calls are relevant to the targeted customer, that they don’t require them to spend too much time on the line and pick the right timing. Also, be mindful of the age group of your customers, as the younger generations often prefer emails or social media.
6. Feedback failures
It’s one thing to respond to a positive comment on Facebook with appreciation, but ignoring criticism or negative feedback, especially when posted publically can wreak havoc on your reputation, while poorly thought through and emotional responses can be even more damaging.
Even if the comment was uncalled for, you need to take control of the situation, find the best possible solution and offer your customer a transparent line of communication to let them know they are appreciated and that you’ll do your best to prevent future issues.