Tag Archives: anger

Business Tip: Don’t Annoy Your Customers!

angry businessmanI recently read an interesting article called 10 Surefire Ways To Annoy Your Customers.

As I reviewed each of the 10 ways, I was easily able to identify a company or two that fell into at least one category.  Some pretty prominent ones, too.

In the rush to get campaigns out there, and execute, execute, execute, these blunders get skipped, or not planned for.  Check them out – is YOUR organization inadvertently making your customers and prospects annoyed?

If so, cut it out!  Correct these errors now!  Don’t wait until you notice customer defections!

 

— Lisa Dennis

Hammer Time – Angry Customer Style

A recent article in the Washington Post titled Taking a Whack Against Comcast tells the story of a 75 year old Virginia woman, who, after receiving poor and indifferent service over the course of four separate incidents, decided to draw some attention ftom her cable provider’s service department by taking a hammer to a service rep’s PC and telephone. 

While I am sensitive to the plight of angry customers everywhere, and believe that businesses can learn a lot from listening to their angry customers, and while I believe that being ignored and mistreated by businesses can rightfully elicit anger from customers, I must draw the line at violent reactions to the service.

And I am a little bit disturbed at the smirking, cavalier tone of the Post’s article.  In this day and age, violent outbursts are not really a laughing matter.  The fact that this woman is 75 years old does not mean she was incapable of inflicting pain or injury to Comcast personnel.  OK, she busted up a keyboard, monitor, and telephone, as a way of getting "attention."  Cute.  What if some of the splintering equipment hit a Comcast employee in the eye?  What if Granny’s backswing of the hammer caught someone in the face?  What if she hurt herself while wreaking havoc on the Comcast office?  Would she then sue Comcast for the pain and suffering? (Fact is, her blood pressure did go up to a dangerous level, and she began hyperventilating, and required an ambulance.)

And the Washington Post, who really should know better, chose to highlight this woman as a great American outlaw, going outside the boundaries of the law, yet striking a blow for "justice."

Let’s get this straight.  I love angry customers.  My consulting practice and the articles I write are all about getting businesses to take heed of their angry customers, and learn how to improve their service, products and operations by hearing, and then addressing, customer complaints.  But their are limits to the appropriateness of customer anger.  I tend to draw the line after the first use of profanity.  Violent actions?  Forget about it!  You just lost your complainin’ priviledges, is what ya did.

  — Chuck Dennis

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Customer Scorned

It used to be, if your business angered a customer, you could lose the customer’s business, and count on him telling anywhere from 5 to 25 people about the negative experience.  Depending on the nature of the the experience and the credibility of the angry customer, you might take a business hit from some existing and prospective customers.  Not to mention, your loss is your competitor’s gain.

Nowadays, through the wonders of technology, specifically the interactivity of Web 2.0, disgruntled customers have a much larger stage for their soapbox.  Hundreds, thousands, even millions of people can now read about a single customer complaint!  An article in yesterday’s New York Times, titled "Dealing With the Damage From Online Critics," discusses this topic. 

Now, no business is immune to the occasional dissatisfied customer.  However, as the article explains, it’s often how the business deals with the dissatisfaction that makes or breaks them.  Depending on the magnitude of the customer’s anger, bitter online posts with embellished details and ominous threats can give pause to potential customers and even disinterested third parties.  Critical and derogatory web sites can be created, or simply steaming posts on blogs or online forums can wreak havoc on a business’ goodwill.

Businesses can fight back by jumping into the fray with denials, counter-claims, or simply by posting authentic or contrived positive news about themselves or their products.  However, my belief is that nobody wins in this kind of online street fight.  Everyone comes out with at least some scrapes and bruises.  A better approach would be for the business to attempt to reach out to the offended customer, and try to learn the exact nature of the problem, why it happened, why it disturbed the customer, and how it can be avoided in the future. 

The business that acknowledges its problems, and resolves them to the customers’ satisfaction, is going to win a lot more loyalty and admiration than one who simply tries to sweep the dirt under the carpet.

  — Chuck Dennis

Take That to the Bank!

I am currently working on an article concerning Angry Customers and the banking industry.  As you can imagine, there are a number of instances where customers are not happy with their banks.  Today’s Boston Globe has an interesting article called “Man Beats Bank.”  The gist of the article is that, above and beyond the typical pesky fees that many banks impose upon their customers for pratcially every service rendered, there is a darker side.  Fleet Bank, now owned by Bank of America, utilized  “‘a secret rate sheet’ that bank employees were given daily and told not to disclose to customers.”  This came to light when a customer was charged $10,000 for a transaction that should have cost him $30.  The bank shot itself in the foot when it inadvertently attached the secret rate sheet to a deposition of a bank official.  The bank customer, who is a lawyer, was tenacious in his fight, and after 8 years, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that the bank had not properly disclosed the rates.  State and Federal regulators and even consumer reporters had previously ignored his complaint, and he believes that many other Fleet customers have been similarly overcharged.

If banks wonder why their industry has such a shaky reputation, here is one obvious example.  Sometimes, it’s not enough to read the fine print; sometimes, the most significant details are “secret.”

— Chuck Dennis

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