Why are customers so difficult? My friend Peter in a comment to a recent post, said - I understand that corporations must respond to changing consumer behavior, but I'm fascinated by the the concept of the needy consumer.
As customers, do we need a corporation to satisfy our emotional needs to earn our loyalty? In response, I thought of the top 10 reasons why your customers are being difficult:
(1.) You're the only game in town or one of a few, limited options
You may feel you have a captive audience, but realize that it takes a special effort not to be arrogant in those circumstance, and your customers don't like the treatment. For example, if you're looking for a high speed Internet provider, there may be only one to choose from in your market. Mobile network with broad global coverage? Same thing, one or two.
(2.) People want to be part of something bigger/better
On the other hand, if you are the only game in town, how about considering the community and the people who look up to your company? Are you as a company excited to be part of that community? Are your people encouraged to contribute?
(3.) Customers feel you're charging too much
Especially when everyone is facing tightening economic conditions, there isn't perceived or tangible value coming out of your rates. That's why it's a good idea to communicate about context in your marketing. Your good deal will be put to the test by your customers with their peers.
(4.) You're not listening to what they have to say
There are rules to follow and incentives to be had, and they both point in some other direction than where the customer wants to go in the conversation. If you were in court, they might say you were leading the witness. Allow customers to say what they want to say. Maybe ask clarifying questions.
(5.) You're being negative
The conversation may have started on the right foot, but you continue to talk about what can't be done, the rules and policies - in other words, you have a bad attitude. And now that is transferring onto the call. How many of you have experienced this?
(6.) You're not soliciting feedback
This could even be worse than not listening. We all know that what we like may not be what others want, even at home. Why would this be different with customers? Are you changing a product, their product, or the packaging without asking, first? Think about what Pepsi did recently with Tropicana packaging. Go by the old axiom - if it aint' broken, don't fix it.
(7.) You're asking, but not following up
One more step on the infuriating scale is when you ask, acknowledge what your customer is telling you, and then do nothing about it. If a customer takes the time to give you input, the expectation is that there will be some kind of follow up. Wouldn't you expect the same?
(8.) You make it difficult to reach the right person
Many touch points may be good in marketing parlance, but when it comes to customer service, they plain suck. Have you experienced one or two transfers when calling a company? I can count up to five and then back to the original number.
(9.) You change the rules on them
Managing expectations is one thing, but today the rules and the fine print are changing so often, that it's become difficult to figure out what is included and what isn't, with anything. There's an impact on trust here.
(10.) Some customers are always going to be difficult
It's not personal, let's face it, there may not be a way of pleasing them. Does that mean you should stop trying?
Today at Fast Company expert blog we walk about how to deal with difficult customers. Are you a difficult customer? I think some of you are. I know I can be for some of the reasons outlined here.