By Arie Hefter
Do you suffer from having too many happy customers? Isn’t it the worst? However, you’re not alone AND you’re in luck. Here are the answers to your customer loyalty woes. We have assembled the ultimate, most foolproof plan that will decrease that customer loyalty, drive those clients away and, most importantly, make sure they never come back.
1. Don’t Invest in Customer Service
Probably the most concrete way to get rid of all those happy customers is to simply not invest in customer service at all. Focusing on repeat customers and word of mouth, each year Zappos invests more resources into its customer service than they do in any other area of their marketing mix. WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? They see it AS their “marketing”. Yet, obviously it has not paid off, because they only received a miniscule 1.2 billion dollars when sold to mega-giant Amazon.
Zappos sees themselves as “a service company that just happens to sell shoes.” Their customer service is both a branding center and a place to generate word of mouth advertising. What has this done? Create customers who are “brand evangelists.” They are aiming to make customers feel great so they will come back. But who has time for that? Just don’t worry about your customer service so you won’t be left to worry with all those satisfied customers. Yuck.
2. Never Take Responsibility
Ever heard the phrase “the customer is always right”? Well, IT’S STUPID. This is YOUR business; you know it better than anyone else. WHY SHOULD THEY TELL YOU WHAT TO DO? The thought is, if businesses take responsibility for a wrong, whether or not it’s actually their fault, then customers will reward them in turn. As Inc. points out, “resolving customer complaints is among the best ways to earn loyalty” and sometimes a lengthy apology is all that is needed.
The pushover Whole Foods goes so far as to completely refund any of its products–even if it’s almost entirely consumed–and the wusses at Nordstrom even let one customer return a tire, something they don’t even sell in the store. These businesses lost their pride to win those customers. But you don’t need those customers. Stay proud. Never admit blame, never admit fault, never try to make amends and never reap customer loyalty.
3. Avoid Problems
Look, there is no rush needed to fix problems. Take your time, or better yet, just pretend they don’t exist at all. As this infographic shows, “of those who decided to stop doing business with a business, 55% were because issues weren’t resolved in a timely manner.” If you deal with dissatisfaction when it pops up, then you have the ability to ultimately transform it into a positive customer experience.
It has even been shown that resolving a mistake quickly and professionally can actually have a greater impact on building customer loyalty than not having a problem to begin with at all, according to McKinsey’s 2010 loyalty report. So, if you’re aiming to cut off those crazy loyal customers, just remind yourself over and over: problems are not a priority.
4. Stay Silent
As John Pine and James Gilmore point out, customers no longer just want to buy a product; they want to buy an experience to go along with it. Consumers today are craving more and more interactions with the brands and companies they do business with, but honestly, WHO HAS TIME FOR THESE THINGS?! Let’s just get rid of these customers by denying them this conversation. To build loyalty, apparently you need to build trust, but to build trust, you need to first start a relationship.
Take for example the San Francisco Giants, who give every single season ticket holder “the name and phone number of a team official who will field questions or handle requests immediately”. It is this type of personal contact that ties consumers to a brand. Therefore, to prevent these customers from being so gosh-darn clingy, do not make yourself accessible. Don’t give them your name or your contact info. Don’t put your address or number on the website (or even have a website at all). Remember, if a customer can’t get a hold of you easily, they won’t get a hold of you at all.
5. Do Not Say Thank You
Nowadays everyone is demanding to feel “special.” Our society is becoming spoiled. Loyal customers are thinking they deserve to be told thank you, when in reality, YOU are the one providing the service or product. It’s just silly. Apparently, your super loyal customers expect appreciation or they will go elsewhere. Giving perks like special deals, promotions and insider knowledge of events can be great ways to show those people appreciation.
But here’s the thing: you’re trying to get rid of these customers, not keep them. So not only do you not need to reward to keep the super loyal around, but if OTHER customers see them getting rewards, they’ll try to reach that level of “loyalty” as well and you’ll find yourself having even MORE loyal customers than before and then this whole plan would be a total FAIL. Do yourself a favor: DO NOT SAY THANK YOU.
You read it right; these are the top 5 ways to lose your customers. However, let’s be real. It’s all fun and games but no business owner really wants to see customers go. Instead, make sure you AREN’T doing any of the above and you’ll be well on your way to sincere customer satisfaction.
This article was originally published on Funding Gates. Funding Gates is the world’s first CRM platform for receivables management. Serving as an online credit department for small businesses, Funding Gates is set on making managing receivables the easiest part of running a business.
Photo credit: aprilbell