The last thing any marketer or executive wants is to lose customer loyalty. It’s no small feat to persuade an audience that your product or service is of value. It’s a process with many steps. The strategies, creative ingenuity and precision behind that are immeasurable. Yet, time and time again, even with successful endeavors, there are times when a portion of the audience abandons ship. Instead of keeping customers close, companies are alienating their customers.
Whether it’s bad marketing habits, an unfavorable approach or the smoke and mirrors charade, there are numerous ways you might be alienating your customers.
Here’s a few…
1. The in-your-face approach. When I’m at a mall, I avoid making eye contact with most of the Kiosk employees. Too often, I’ve been chased down by an employee who’s a little too enthusiastic about giving me a mini manicure. I don’t do well with being approached by someone trying to sell a product and that extends into the digital world. In a recent Ragan’s PR Daily article, Clare Lane wrote, “Many social media managers probably don’t approach consumers with a “Field of Dreams” mentality. Despite that, almost 75 percent of millennials (ages 20–39) and Gen Z (ages 16–19) say they’re disinterested in brands that advertise too aggressively on social media. Data show that millennial and Generation Z consumers now make up more than half the population, and brand managers who seek their trust should prioritize meeting their expectations.”
2. Click-bait. This marketing tactic is extreme and, at one time, was used quite a bit. The banner ads, slogans and email subject lines were enticing, however, the results didn’t pan out as expected. Marketers quickly learned these techniques were alienating customers. “Clearly these banner ads are persuasive, because people do click through. It turns out that many individuals do want to be surprised, shocked, and amazed. But of course, these clicks are rarely fulfilling,” wrote Jason Klein of ClickZ, “The sole purpose of click-bait is to generate a click or page view, but the effectiveness of such measures quickly wane. Consumers might be enticed once or twice to respond to a clever tactic, but they learn quickly that it’s not really worth their time. The fact of the matter is, if you’re can’t provide value to your consumers, they will inevitably ignore all your attempts to make contact and ultimately become conditioned to disregard all communication efforts from your brand.”
3. Underestimating your customer’s intelligence. Remember when Spirit Airlines decided to tack on a charge for Carry-On bags and, back in 2013, they announced the switch to a non-toll free customer help number? The reason given for these decisions was so they could continue to offer low cost airfare. These new charges, along with a few other outrageous Spirit Airline fees, didn’t go over so well with the customers. More so, a lot of customers felt their explanation insulted their intelligence. Change is inevitable. Over time, companies will make changes from price increases to renovations. Customers take notice. If you’re not honest with your customers about these changes, or things appear underhanded, they’ll walk away.
4. You’re not listening. Customers want their voice to be heard. Whether it’s a note of praise or a lengthy complaint, customers don’t want to be left in the dark. Generic responses, a delay in reply time, and lack of follow-up is will alienate your customers. People want real conversation and they want to know that their feedback is going to be put to good use, valued and maybe initiate change.