Foreword Online

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Are You Driving Customers Away?

Posted by admin on 3/6/14 10:00 PM
Topics: college store customer service

The following excerpt is from the article 5 Things That Drive Away Customers written by Bill Murphy Jr. and published on Murphy explains several key factors that influence customers' purchasing decisions. Take a look at the ones that may affect collegiate retail the most below, then check out his full article for further information.

How often do you drive away customers without even realizing it?

I thought about this recently, when I had a bad experience in a local store. The salespeople were too busy to help, and there was only one register serving a long line of customers. They had the product I was looking for. I had cash in my hand. But I eventually walked out without buying anything.

That's a sad story from an entrepreneur's perspective. To gain insight into the small changes you can make to close more sales and improve satisfaction, I asked dozens of people--customers and entrepreneurs alike--for their biggest pet peeves.

Here are the top things they said prompt customers to walk away:

Making customers wait

You can serve only so many people at once in most businesses. Customers get that. Still, they hate waiting, and three factors are scientifically proven to make waiting even worse:

  • When the wait takes longer than customers expect;
  • When they're forced to stand by idly, with no idea how long things will take;
  • When they perceive others who showed up after them are being served first.

There is a ton of research on this, and it makes for fun reading. The bottom line is that customers almost always prefer a "one line for all registers" approach, like most banks and airport check-in lines employ. Whether you're selling retail products or providing services, people just want to be treated quickly and fairly.

Here's how one tech firm addressed the issue. The founders of Qualtrics, an online data collection and analysis firm, told me that the rule in their office is that everyone, regardless of his or her job, is expected to answer customer calls by the third ring. If someone doesn't, a gong goes off in the office, and red sirens start blaring. Result? No more waiting.

Selling to them constantly

Do you hate spam emails, telemarketing calls, and junk mail? Why would your customers be any different? They're being sold to from the second they wake up in the morning, and they're sick of it. As writer Mike Myatt put it: "Clients are people not fish. Don't 'lure' or 'hook' them--engage them, listen to them and serve them. ... This is much more than a semantical argument--it's a philosophical shift in thinking, and a practical shift in acting."

It's hard to quantify exactly how much overly aggressive sales pitches cost you, but aConsumer Reports survey found that 64 percent of people admitted having walked out of a retail store because a salesperson was too pushy. Obviously you have to try to sell, but don't inundate your customers to the point that your pitch itself turns them off.

Being hard to contact

Time is money. Answering customer questions over and over can be frustrating. Why can't customers just check the FAQ on your website? Why don't they read directions or spend just a few minutes thinking things through before peppering you with questions?

The reason is pretty simple: Time is money for your customers, too. The last thing they want is to be herded into some kind of impersonal support option that shows you think your time is worth more than theirs.

How much do people hate this attitude? Enough that in his spare time, Kayak co-founder Paul English landed one million page views a month by creating a website, GetHuman, that helps people skip automated phone support and reach a real, live customer support person quickly.

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