Five Ways to Lose Your Customers

publication date: Oct 3, 2023
author/source: Shep Hyken

restaurant customers

Want to lose your customer? Deliver a bad customer service experience. And it doesn't really have to be that bad. Sure, if it's flat out abysmally terrible customer service you'll most likely lose the customer, but sometimes it's much less obvious. It can be an attitude of indifference. So, let's get specific. Here are five ways that are guaranteed to make your customers question if they made a good decision to do business with you.

Don't Acknowledge the Customer

Ever walk into a business and see employees standing around. They are paying attention to everyone except for you, the customer. I remember checking into a hotel years ago. I walked up to the front desk with a heavy suitcase in tow, and the clerk was typing away on his computer. After about 30 seconds, which by the way seemed like much longer, the clerk looked up at me and said, "I'll be right with you." About a minute or so later he looked up at me and asked, "Are you here to check in?" I was nice, but I wanted to say, "What do you think?"

Don't Care About the Customer

There's an expression that is attributed to John Maxwell that says, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." If there is one important part of customer service, it is that you care – and the customer knows it. Apathy kills the relationship and true caring and concern for the customer trumps all.

Don't Listen to the Customer

Customers want to be heard, and equally as important, understood. It's one thing to make an error on a meal. It may irritate the customer a bit to have to spend time getting it resolved. But if you have a problem that is due to a breakdown in communication, well that is the worst Moment of Misery you can have with your customer. The customer will say, "I don't like doing business with them. They just don't listen and understand me."

Don't Respond to the Customer

It is so frustrating to leave a message on the phone, send an email or a Tweet, and get no response. A bad customer service situation gets worse when the company doesn't respond to the complaint or problem.

Don't Appreciate the Customer

A fundamental need of most, if not all people is to feel appreciated. Customers want to be appreciated for spending their hard-earned money at your place of business. So say, "Thank you!" Send a thank you note or an email. Let your customers know you appreciate them.

Shep HykenShep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a customer service expert, hall-of-fame speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He works with organizations to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus, a customer service training program that helps organizations develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset. For more information contact (314) 692-2200 or