top five things businesses do to shoot themselves in the foot

I am a loyal customer. Once I find a place I love, I go there. I spend money there. Frequently. Good food, good service, friendly staff, nice ambience. I’ll even pay a little extra because I am that generation who will pay a dumb amount of money for a good cup of coffee.

But I was also run out the door as fast as you please if you don’t treat me right. I love small businesses because they actually know that you have never been in their store before. They explain what they’re all about and they make an effort to win you over.

Most of them. Some definitely do not. and that’s what this post is about. So, here are some of the major ways businesses turn their customers away:

5. Not keeping up their website.

I find it so frustrating when I go to a website and it has information from like last year on the first page. What does that mean? Could mean you’re out of business or you can’t remember your password. Who knows. Who cares. It makes it look like the business doesn’t care about informing customers and potential customers. And I have been a loyal customer to a place that didn’t bother to send any announcement about a sale they had a week ago.

4. Not utilizing every free service there is.

Every print paper has some kind of free calendar with events. Don’t have something coming up? Why the heck not? Make something up. Events are the bread and butter of consumerism. We spend because it’s fun and if it’s special, all the better. You can come up with something at least once a week. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc etc. all free, all advertising. Just remember to keep it all updated like in #5.

3. Not knowing anything about neighboring stores.

Have you ever walked into a store and had the person in there rave about another store a few doors down? No? Well that’s sad. I have had this happen to me before with the nicest little old lady in this quaint little town and though I had no intention of going to the other store (mostly because I didn’t even see it there) I ended up there just because I felt like she was my long lost gramma and I had to. I also have gone into a store and asked for a recommendation randomly of a clerk for a nearby restaurant. She actually told me she only went to the Arbys up the block. I almost fell over.

2. Not honoring their customers as their entire livelihood.

It makes me crazy when I walk in a place and not a single staff person says hello. There is the possibility of saying hello *too* often and talking to me nonstop isn’t the best way to go either. But at least acknowledge that I am there and I quite possibly have a major credit card with an available balance.  Without me and those like me, you quite possibly won’t be here next month to say hello to any body.

And don’t forget that every person who walks in the door knows at least, what, like five people? Word of mouth is amazing. With the advent of Facebook and Twitter, etc., the customer base has changed. We don’t look at ads. We don’t really pay attention to commercials any more – I mean who even watches them between TiVo and Hulu/Netflix? We do tell everyone we know about our good AND bad experiences though. We post about it every where and word travels fast. Treat every customer who walks through your door like that person could very well launch a global movement … in the general direction of your store.

1. Talking bad about competitors.

This kills me. It kills trust. It makes you look like a spoiled brat. It doesn’t mean you have to shower praises on them either, especially if you KNOW in your heart of hearts you run a better place. But in America, we have something called free enterprise, and the concept is that the one who offers the best overall service, product, experience, etc., will thrive and outlast the competition. In theory of course. But speaking as a loyal customer, I will have no problem walking away from a business owned by a mean spirited cranky person.

So that’s it. a quick word of advice from a customer who will always love you … until I don’t. 🙂


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