Five Ways to Lose Your Customers


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Bad Customer Service

Want to lose your customer?  Deliver a bad customer service experience.  And it doesn’t really have to be that bad.  Sure, if it’s flat out abysmally terrible customer service you’ll most likely lose the customer, but sometimes it’s much less obvious.  It can be an attitude of indifference.  So, let’s get specific.  Here are five ways that are guaranteed to make your customers question if they made a good decision to do business with you. 

  1. Don’t acknowledge the customer.  Ever walk into a store and see employees standing around.  They are paying attention to everyone except for you, the customer.  I remember checking into a hotel years ago.  I walked up to the front desk with a heavy suitcase in tow, and the clerk was typing away on his computer.  After about 30 seconds, which by the way seemed like much longer, the clerk looked up at me and said, “I’ll be right with you.”  About a minute or so later he looked up at me and asked, “Are you here to check in?”  I was nice, but I wanted to say, “What do you think?”
  2. Don’t care about the customer.  There’s an expression that is attributed to John Maxwell that says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If there is one important part of customer service, it is that you care – and the customer knows it.  Apathy kills the relationship and true caring and concern for the customer trumps all.
  3. Don’t listen to the customer.  Customers want to be heard, and equally as important, understood.  It’s one thing to make an error on an invoice.  It may irritate the customer a bit to have to call and spend time getting it resolved.  But if you have a problem that is due to a breakdown in communication, well that is the worst Moment of Misery you can have with your customer.  The customer will say, “I don’t like doing business with them.  They just don’t listen and understand me.”
  4. Don’t respond to the customer.  It is so frustrating to leave a message on the phone, send an email or a Tweet, and get no response.  A bad customer service situation gets worse when the company doesn’t respond to the complaint or problem.
  5. Don’t appreciate the customer.  A fundamental need of most, if not all people is to feel appreciated.  Customers want to be appreciated for spending their hard-earned money at your place of business.   So say, “Thank you!”  Send a thank you note or an email.  Let your customers know you appreciate them.

So, now I’ve given you five.  How about sharing what you would add to this list.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times  bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.


  1. Shep –

    These are all key customer retention issues, to be sure. They are geared to service and transactional responsiveness. I’d suggest a sixth, seventh, and eighth. If any of these three are not actively being followed, any enterprise will place a considerable share of its customer base in jeopardy of turnover..

    The sixth is geared to proaction and customer-centricity: Not having a strategic plan and set of processes in place to optimize customer experience, value, and loyalty behavior (

    The seventh is not having formal methods for recognizing when customers are at risk, critical for mitigating churn (

    The eighth is restricting the flexibility. commitment and responsiveness of employees – all employees – on behalf of the customer (


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