Businesses are often their own worst enemy when it comes to keeping customers. Here are five ways businesses (and their owner and/or staff) sabotage the bottom line, followed by tips to help you avoid making these customer-repelling mistakes.
5 ways businesses lose sales and customers:
1. Selling low-quality products or having less than professional packaging. This can be a big issue in the bath and body industry. We’ve all seen companies who give handmade a bad name – whether by creating poor products to packaging the product poorly or improper labeling. These companies will lose sales because they don’t present a professional appearance upfront, and if the product is bad, there certainly won’t be any repeat sales.
Tip: Think about your product and packaging from a customers’ perspective – does it look good, have professional labels that follow FDA requirements and does the product actually work as intended, while also looking and feeling good on the skin?
2. Not appreciating customers. Customers want to feel appreciated and not to feel like they’re always being sold to. Feeling taken advantage of or used is another reason why customers will leave, never to return. Finally, if there is never any follow up or contact after the sale, customers can feel as though they are just a number and only valued for their money. They may not buy from you again if they don’t feel valued and appreciated.
Tip: Thank your customers, even with a simple handwritten note on the packing slip included with orders. Tell them how much you appreciate their continued support. Highlight top-tier customers on social media. Send a newsletter regularly to stay in touch and share information, not just asking them to make a purchase.
3. Not standing behing their products. Some in the beauty industry can get very divided on this topic, whether to issue refunds for any reason or only in cases where the product is damaged. But customers place more trust in companies who stand behind their products and place a high priority on customer satisfaction.
Tip: Decide the refund policy that is right for you and your business. Even if you decide not to accept returns, there are other ways to ensure customers are satisfied. Many times, customers that have a problem or issue simply want to be heard and can accept whatever your policies are, if they are listened to, their concerns validated and problems addressed.
4. Badmouthing other products and businesses. Unfortunately, I have heard far too much of this in our industry, the backstabbing and knocking down of another product or brand. I believe there is enough business to go around for all of us, and I personally am turned off when a business owner slams another colleague, for whatever reason. It is unprofessional and leaves the original gossiper in a bad light in my opinion when I hear her/him talking badly about another company.
Tip: Keep your opinions to yourself about the pros and cons of other products. You never need to share those opinions with your current or potential customers. If you do, it may backfire on you in a big way. Remember the Golden Rule and also the saying ‘If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.’
5. Not caring about their reputations and ignoring those who leave negative feedback. Customers can be the biggest source of valuable information on how to improve your products. If you keep hearing the same comment over and over, it may serve you well to take it under consideration and implement some changes. Now, this isn’t to say that you have to make every change that is suggested – that isn’t a wise business decision and it can drive you crazy, but if you recognize a consistent theme or message about one of your products, then at least think about who is making the complaint and how you might improve.
Tip: As mentioned before, most people simply want to be heard. If someone posts a complaint or negative remark on your Facebook page, reply with ‘I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t happy with XYZ product. I will contact you directly to discuss, as I want all of our customers to be happy.’ This does a few things:
- acknowledges the complaint was received
- demonstrates to the customer and to anyone else who may read the post on social media that you want to resolve the issue with the customer directly (you’re not posting defensive comments or engaging in a drawn out conversation on social media, but rather in private)
- reiterates that you want your customers to be satisfied
- allows the customer to share their experience, feel heard and validated and hopefully come to a resolution about their concern.
Any one of these mistakes can cost your company money and future business. Be aware of and avoid these negative business practices and instead use the suggested tips to create customer experiences that encourage repeat buying.
What are your thoughts? What else do you think can cause a business to lose customers and sales? Share in the comments below.