I recently had a poor experience as a customer that left me upset and vowing never to use that business again or refer anyone there. That business lost at least one customer and potentially many more.
When I calmed down, I got to thinking what exactly had gone wrong. At the heart was poor communication. I thought some more and realized that most of my dissatisfaction as a customer has arisen because of poor communication skills.
So here are some tips on how you, too, can drive away customers using poor communication skills.
- Treat the customer as if you are doing them a favor. Why try to be helpful? They can take your product or service, or leave it. It’s all the same to you.
- Ignore what it is the customer wants. They don’t know anything. You know better. Tell them so!
- Having a bad day? Take it out on the customer. This is really easy if you are on the phone or sending an e-mail. You’re probably never going to see them again anyway.
- Don’t give the customer your full attention. Hey! Watching Game of Thrones on your tablet or phone is much more important than any customer.
- Assume that the customer knows everything you know. Explaining things to ignorant people wastes valuable time you could be using catching up on Game of Thrones.
- Forget to tell the customer important steps he needs to take and then blame him for not holding up his end of the deal. (This is especially effective when providing a service.)
- Make things as inconvenient for the customer as possible. The effort to save the customer time is just too much for you to handle.
- Make promises and, when you break them, blame it on the customer.
- Never, ever let the customer know what is going on, especially if there are problems. Make the customer call you for updates and act like everything is just fine, especially if it isn’t.
Follow these steps and you are guaranteed to see your customers run away screaming in frustration.
If you want to be successful like Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy’s restaurant chain, and Mary Kay Ash of cosmetics fame, follow Ms. Ash’s advice when dealing with customers:
“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.”