Recently, I was chatting with a good chum who heads up one of the largest corporations in Europe about some of the best ways to lose a customer.

These are my 10 favorites. No doubt you can think of plenty of others.

  1. Pass the customer around. Whatever you do, make it virtually impossible for customers to get what they want when they call you. Make them work by asking them to repeat themselves. Then, to add that extra bit of aggravation, get someone who doesn’t know how to transfer a call to accidentally cut the customer off.
  2. Buy a system, then fit your strategy around it. Do as many companies do and buy a wonderful system for recording customers’ details, which does not make it easy from their perspective and which they don’t understand.
  3. Rely on technology. Forget the people and buy the best technology. Then, put it in front of your customer service operation. It’s best to make it really difficult for customers, so that they get confused and, when they don’t make a choice, they are routed to a really poor quality answering machine.
  4. Forget about training. Just do what so many companies do today and put staff on the telephone without an iota of training. Better still, make sure they can’t be easily understood and are good at arguing with customers.
  5. Don’t reward loyalty. Forget about all those loyal customers who have been with you for years. Instead, go out of your way to attract new customers with better deals and tell your existing ones they can’t have the same special offer, despite how long they have been with your company and how much they have spent.
  6. Ignore the millions of people with speech or hearing difficulties. If you operate predominantly in the consumer sector, then ignore all those who may not be able to communicate effectively with you. After all, who wants another X million potential customers?
  7. Ignore customer feedback. How about developing your services and ignoring what your customers want? Don’t ask them for their opinion. They won’t know anyway, so why waste your time?
  8. Forget about third parties who work with your company. Don’t worry about all those companies who work for you and communicate to your existing and prospective customers. Don’t invest time in working with them. After all, if they can’t help a customer, then who cares? Or if they give wrong advice and you get sued for misinformation, so what?
  9. Forget about service. Just sell, sell and sell. Don’t waste time on nasty topics such as service. Customers don’t care about this, so why bother? Just give them a keen price and rotten service, and they’ll come back in droves.
  10. Forget cultural differences. Make everyone do things your way, even if they can’t speak your language or have different ways of saying things.

How many of these do you recognize?

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Jonathan Farrington is a globally recognized business coach, mentor, author, consultant and chairman of The JF Corporation and CEO of Top Sales Associates. For more information and tips from Jonathan, visit http://www.topsalesworld.com/, or go to his blog at http://www.thejfblogit.co.uk/.