I’m pretty sure some businesses are using the plot from the movie, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, as the inspiration for forging customer relations.
This revelation came to me late one night as I slumped dejectedly into the single-seater couch, that was promising to be my bed for the night.
Why would you need to sleep on a couch? I hear you ask. Some new age yoga challenge? A random throwback to your student years? A sick child? None of those!
We were waiting for our new bed to be delivered. We had already been waiting for 4 hours. It was past my bedtime.
The drivers of the delivery truck had apparently decided to take a tour around the neighbourhood – not our neighbourhood of course, but one 60 KMs away. They kept claiming that they couldn’t find our delivery address. Each time we phoned to find out where they were and when they would arrive, the answer was 20 minutes.
Is it just me, or is 20 minutes the standard ETA answer for all late deliveries?
Instead of eating all the snacks in the house, setting up a tent in the lounge or quietly sobbing I decided to use this time constructively. I went onto a few local customer feedback websites and rated the bed provider’s delivery service – horrible, sad face emoticon, thumbs down emoticon – you get the picture. While I did this, my ever-determined spouse got hold of the factory manager and told him that they can either deliver the bed tonight or we’ll be heading over to get a refund the next day.
The bed was eventually delivered that night, but a simple case of ill prepared drivers had a ripple effect that the business may not become aware of until sales begin to decline and returns flood in. Such as:
- The cost of fuel and mobile calls as the driver went from one location to another, phoning us to say they’d be there in 20 minutes. Keep in mind that they’d had 5 days to prepare for the delivery.
- There is a digital footprint of their shoddy service delivery that will remain discoverable for years to come.
- I will be very resistant to use that organisation in future and would certainly tell others of my experience.
If organisation are following some mysterious guide, I imagine it would look something like this…
A Guide on How to Lose a Customer in 10 Ways
A guide for businesses that want to perfect the art of playing hard to get.
- Take as long as possible to send a prospective customer a quote. Don’t be like your pesky competition who bombard them with information the moment they request it. Maintain your mystery.
- Always tell a customer that your organisation can do anything. People don’t like negativity and are more interested in instant gratification than results. Don’t worry about how you will fulfil those expectations just be a Yes Man!
- Be hard to communicate with or even better, have your customer telephonically bounced from employee to employee. That way your customer will get to meet the whole team and really feel like a part of your business!
- Make sure that your customer data is always a little jumbled. People find it quirky and endearing when their names are misspelt. In fact, you’re helping to make great stories - what Friends fan doesn’t remember the TV Guide addressed to “Miss Chanandler Bong”?
- Play Go Phish with your customer’s personal information. People so appreciate it when their email address, mobile or identity numbers are handed out willy-nilly. Who doesn’t love the thrill of receiving communications from new and interesting people.
- Don’t ever send product offerings that are tailored to the needs of your customer. This kind of analytical behaviour is for organisations who don’t believe in the quality of all 2,002 of their products, and can create an awkward closeness between the company and the customer. People will talk!
- Never manage a customer’s queries on a case basis. Every email, tweet and phone call from the same customer (some people are so needy) should be treated as unique. This approach means that multiple employees can work on providing the same solution, to the same customer – it’s like a race.
- Standardisation is for corporates who want to stifle their employee’s creativity. Nothing says “innovative” quite like a business that let’s each employee improvise their own version of the truth. The terms, conditions and specifications of every policy, product or service should be open to interpretation at any stage, this encourages dialogue…with lawyers…
- Blame problems on the customer’s interpretation of company policy, or on your suppliers, or on a different department…in fact, use whatever tactic is necessary to avoid taking responsibility. As a side note – this is much easier to achieve if there are no standardised policies in place.
- Lastly, and most importantly, have roving eyes. Always be on the lookout for someone younger and fresher. Don’t encourage brand loyalty or reward your existing customers – ever. If you make them feel special or appreciated, they will only give you more work in the future.
If you found these tips enlightening, you might be interested in discovering how modern CIO’s are using policies and procedures to enhance businesses and help keep customers – those rebels.