How to Alienate Customers?

When a customer chooses to transact with you, you have an opportunity 

  • You have an opportunity to deliver on their expectations 
  • You have an opportunity to delight them by exceeding those expectations 
  • + you have an opportunity to get them coming back over + over + telling everyone they know about you 

… which means you have less reliance on marketing, promotions + investment, because your customers are selling your product for you.

When you do it well, the benefits are endless.

But what happens when you don’t?

 

KNOW HOW YOU WANT YOUR CUSTOMERS TO FEEL 

We recently had a terrible experience with an online ticketing agency.

We talk about being intentional about how you want your customers to feel when they deal with you

It appears this company had come up with words like ‘frustrated, fearful, stressed + desperate’…

but we digress. 

 

THE STORY STARTED OUT WELL

A group of six of us decided to go to an outdoor jazz concert as a special treat.

We checked the website, the reviews + the package + it looked simply wonderful. They’d done a good job of marketing these unique + exclusive events.

We booked + paid for the event, which was several months away, received a confirmation email.

Great, sorted. Now we wait for the date to arrive.

Except, no.

Some months later, out of the blue + with no reason given, the company cancelled the tickets. They gave us a credit to use towards a future event, which of course, we had to search for again, find 6 tickets together + re-book. Not great.

Except, no…

 

WHEN I FINALLY FOUND THE TIME TO RE-BOOK THE TICKETS, OUR CREDIT – WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN $270 – WAS $27.

Hang on, I’d spent $270 on tickets that were then cancelled with no notice, + given $27 back for my trouble.

Pardon? What?

I contacted the company to ask them to rectify the credit issue – surely, they’d just missed a zero off the credit amount – it’ll be sorted in a jiffy.

Three times I reached out. Email. Website form. Facebook Messenger. But nothing.

There was no phone number to call. There were no responses to my repeated requests for help.

Meanwhile, I watched the tickets for the future shows that we were meant to rebook, sell out. Every show I’d flagged to re-book, sold out while I waited.

That’s when the fear really kicked in… 

 

I JUMPED ONLINE TO SEE WHAT WAS GOING ON…

Reviews + messages from other customers appeared –  

Warning!  

Don’t do it.  

Don’t book with these people.  

It’s a farce! 

They’re con-artists!  

They ripped us off hundreds of dollars…

The reviews went on + on. Tales of being ripped off, of cancelled shows, of never-to-be-seen refunds + credits, of ignored requests for help + complete lack of customer service….

Reviews that only months ago, when I first booked, had not appeared. It seemed the company had been busy these last few months, upsetting customers. 

 

 

BY NOW, I’M LOSING MY MIND 

I have a credit that is a tenth of the original money spent. I can’t book tickets because I don’t have enough money. The tickets are selling out. I am not hearing back from this company at all.

I was losing sleep. I was stressed. Frantic. Worried. Every day I tried to find a solution, a way out. But there wasn’t one.

What have I done? I’ve just sunk $270 of my friend’s money that I now have to somehow pay back…

 

THE THREAT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ATTENTION

I’d spent months trying to sort out an issue that was not mine to sort.

I had put trust in a company that promised a unique, special, exclusive event.

Except the reality was far from the promise. So far from the promise – like I’d never seen before.

It wasn’t until I wrote them a very direct message on all channels, threatening to take legal action + expose my experience on social media, that they finally responded, ‘apologised’ processed a refund. 

+ that was that. 

It took the threat of legal action + social media attention to get them to do what they should have done months before.

As you can imagine, I still have no words for this experience!

 

HOW DID THEY EXPECT ME TO FEEL?

As a customer, when you spend money with a company, you put your trust in them. Trust that they’ll deliver the product they promised, at the very least, perhaps a little more if you’re lucky.

Sometimes it can go horribly wrong – like ‘blow your mind’ level of wrong.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO? MISTAKES HAPPEN! 

The simple fact is – no one sets out to learn how to alienate customers.

So, please friends, if a customer chooses you, treat them right. Treat them with the respect they deserve.

Keep your promises.

If you mess up, don’t make it their problem.

If you change something, see that change all the way through to the end.

If you make mistakes, apologise for it. Make amends.

+ when a customer reaches out for help, respond to them as soon as you can, empathise + help fix it.

 

We’re not saying issues + mistakes aren’t made in business, but we are saying, take responsibility for those issues + mistakes – it’s actually a perfect chance for you to create a strong connection with your customer – if you treat them right.  

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