6 Ways You Could Be Hurting Customers Without Realizing It


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If you’re serious about your business, the first priority is the customer. There’s no business without them!

Not all companies are able to keep their customers as free from harm as they might believe, though. In fact, you might be doling out the harm. According to a survey executed by Aspect Consumer Experience, 76 percent of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them.

If the majority of your customers have a good service experience, they’ll return and tell their friends. If it’s a bad experience, it will take a lot of groveling to get them back, if that’s even possible.

One of the best ways you can show your customers their value to you is by avoiding some of the common, harmful mistakes you could be making without even realizing it. Here are a few examples of bad moves to avoid.

1. Using an Unsecured Network

It’s certainly cheaper and easier to use an unsecured network when sending emails and posting Web content, and cheaper overhead often means lower fees for your customers. But you’ll find the majority of your customers prefer that you pay the extra cash to send an encrypted file over a secure network over saving them a few pennies on their next purchase.

2. Unknowingly Sharing Data

Social media is a whirl of information about birthdays, home towns, occupations, ages of children, phone numbers, email addresses, and even home addresses. If you’re a savvy business owner, you’re collecting that data, but you may not be keeping it as secure as you think.

Any time you carelessly delete a file, contract a virus or malware, discover mechanical damage to a hard drive, experience a power outage, or undergo some other accident, data can be lost and recovered by other folks who don’t have your customers’ best interest in mind.

3. Giving Away Email Addresses

If you’re selling the email addresses you’ve collected from social media engagement, newsletter subscriptions, and customer purchases, it’s time to stop. You’re only hurting your customers and yourself. The more junk mail your customers receive, the fewer promotional emails they’ll read from any company, including yours.

In addition, email systems grow smarter with every piece of junk mail sent. They’ll learn more tricks to sort between personal emails and promotional messaging, which means fewer customers will see the messages you send.

4. Sustaining a Static Web Presence

When was the last time you spent time on your company’s Facebook page? Updated your blog? Included new photos on your website? It should have been recent if helping customers is at the forefront of your intentions.

Ninety percent of consumers now expect a brand or organization to offer self-service features on their websites according to a Global State of Multichannel Customer Service report. If you’re not making it possible for customers to help themselves, you’re hindering their ability to interact with and make purchases from your company’s website.

5. Interrupting with Your Emails Instead of Using Real-Time Communication

Emails are too often used as the sole communication avenue from a business. They become an unwelcome interruption in the stream of a consumer’s daily work and personal email feed.

Email can be a powerful tool for marketing, but there are better ways to reach your customers that may actually help instead of annoy them.

Providing real-time communication opportunities on your website, for example, can get customers the information they need at the moment they need it. And this can come in many different forms.

The most common is a chat window that pops up with a live representative when a consumer visits the website. Using targeted advertisements sent to a customer’s phone or computer screen when he or she enters a physical store or website is another great way to provide information when a customer needs it.

6. “Knowing What’s Best” for Your Customers

Finally, too many businesses operate under the assumption that they “know what’s best” for their customers. They assume their strategies and product upgrades are exactly what the customer needs without consulting them.

Like the banter of an overprotective parent, your strategies may be misguided, because they don’t invite input. You should listen to the feedback customers provide and use their opinions to improve your products and services. This is the best way to be helpful, and not harmful, when dealing with your target audience. 

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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