Previously, we have discussed articles in The Costco Connection magazine. In May, Paul and Sarah Edwards wrote an article entitled “Don’t Drive Away Business” which discussed how companies make it hard for customers to do business with them. They pointed out several ways in which business practices make it difficult for clients and can literally result in less income for the business.
When I read this article, I knew that Paul and Sarah were kindred spirits in Appreciation Marketing. I was also reminded of all the aspects of businesses putting hurdles in front of clients that make customers wonder why they try to do business with some of these companies. When is the last time that you walked into a business and saw a sign stating that the receptionist was away and that you must ring a bell for service? What are we, trained dogs? Don’t be shocked if the sign is yellow with age since there hasn’t been a receptionist there for over a year.
How about the voice mail system that prevents a caller from reaching a real, live person. The system that demands that you dial the extension of your intended person is bad enough, but asking you to push buttons to spell a person’s name just does not work with some smart phones. How about automated systems that are so complex that you just give up because you cannot reverse your steps if you make a mistake?
I question anyone who makes you email them through their website, especially if they make you enter security letters and numbers to do so. These can be very challenging when you just cannot read what you need to type back. Here again, if you make a mistake or take a wrong turn, backing out is sometimes harder than just starting all over. Is your web site legible, do the colors clash, do pages load too slowly, and do the users need information that they may not have? If you take credit cards, accept them all, not just one, or two.
If I have to register with you and establish a login and password, let me make them mine. I realize the need for security, but asking me to remember a long, complicated password that is unique to your site results in me finding another place to do business. Asking visitors to change passwords too frequently is not acceptable to everyone. If you want my direct email address, why cannot I have yours?
If you send me an mass email, whether I have asked for it or not, give me a way to opt out or unsubscribe. It may be as simple as telling me to send an email to an address to ask to be deleted. If someone does ask to unsubscribe, provide a way for them to get verification, and then unsubscribe them. If a mistake is made, admit it, and fix it. If you are honest with people about mistakes they will understand and forgive you.
These are only some examples of how you can make it easy, or difficult, for anyone to do business with you. Don’t make your clients feel like they have to jump through hoops to have a business relationship with you. If you make it impossible, or troublesome, for people, they will find somewhere else to spend their money. Worse, they will tell everyone about their experience and recommend that others never involve themselves with your business.
If you have other examples of businesses where you face challenges to spend your money, please let me know, and I’ll share them. You can also email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Maybe we can help others adopt Appreciation Marketing.