When it comes to eating, dogs are pretty adventurous. We’re willing to give just about anything a try – even stuff that humans find disgusting, like goose droppings and unidentifiable carrion. But, not everything we sample is palatable. For instance, corn cobs without the corn are not very good (see photo). And, honestly, I have no idea how people can stomach lettuce!
The point is, some things leave a bad taste in your mouth, and then you must drink a whole bucket of water to make it go away.
Interestingly, I recently learned that food is not the only thing that can “leave a bad taste in your mouth.” This expression is often used when humans have a less than satisfactory experience with your company or product.
Consumers have more options than ever these days, so it’s important not to drive them away or give them an excuse to visit your competitors. According to a study by Small Business Computing, there are three common customer turn-offs to avoid:
Over promising and under delivering. It’s tempting to make grandiose promises (like telling your dog you have the world’s biggest rawhide bone to lure him home), but nothing is more annoying than finding out that a company has made false claims or misrepresented a product or service. Excessive hype may gain short-term sales (and get your dog to obey), but you’ll lose trust and long-term customers if your product or service fails to live up to claims. Know what you can realistically deliver and don’t promise more than that. (By the way, I’m still waiting for that bone!)
Making it difficult to contact you or not responding in a timely manner. There are plenty of ways to contact customers these days – by phone, web, mobile devices, email and even snail mail. Find out which method your customers prefer and use that to connect with them. When customers do contact you, whether it’s a question or a complaint, respond as quickly as possible. Try to make these responses personal and pleasant (no robots please!). An employee engagement company, called Involve, has found that half of customers are likely to cancel a service if they feel a company agent is reluctant to help them. (Growling at people is not nice!)
Ignoring existing customers while pursuing new prospects. Your existing customers are very valuable. Gartner, an American research and advisory firm, notes that a 5% increase in customer retention can boost profits by 25% to 125%, so be sure to keep them happy with special offers and loyalty perks. People (and dogs) like to feel appreciated – a nice scratch behind the ears or an unexpected treat goes a long way.
As content marketing specialists, we’d like to add a fourth no-no to the list:
Bombarding your audience with promotional content. Customers don’t want to hear about how great your company is. They care about what you can do for them. How do your products or services solve their pain points or meet their needs? According to CMI, “content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.” (For more tips, check out “Content Marketing vs. Promotional Marketing.”
Avoiding customer turn-offs and making your company more “palatable” is becoming increasingly important. Recent statistics predict that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020 (Walker) and 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated (McKinsey).
Now, back to food (my favorite subject). Even though I’ve had some bad taste experiences, I am still willing to try new things. I’ve heard my humans talking about something called “kale” while making a strange face. I don’t know what that is, but I’d love to sample some. How bad can it be?