7 Ways to Piss Off Customers During the Holidays


By Samuel Greengard

It's that wonderful time of the year … when customers swarm to retailers, IT systems buckle under the weight of holiday traffic, and everyone gets way too cranky. Here are seven ways to flub IT and ding your brand at the most critical shopping time of the year:

·       Navigation gone wrong. It has been two decades since the emergence of the Web. Yet, many online merchants can't seem to design sites that are navigable. In some cases, the situation is so bad that it's actually easier and faster to type the merchant's name and product name or number into Google.

·       Unfit forms. It's truly remarkable how often website forms, particularly at checkout, are finicky and glitchy. When a customer makes a mistake or enters the wrong data it shouldn't be necessary to exit the shopping cart and start all over again.

·       Lost vision. In the post-PC era, people will visit your site using wildly differing tools and technologies. Design a site and e-commerce capabilities for easy navigation across the full spectrum of devices and browsers. And please make product photos large enough so that it's possible to actually see the desired item!

·       No happy returns. Too often, returning a product is a lot like running uphill against the wind with a 40-pound pack on your back. At this point, it should be painlessly simple to arrange an RMA and print the correct forms.

·       Channel wars. If your CRM system and unified communications platform aren't optimized across different channels-- e-mail, web chat, phone and social media--it's going to be a long and difficult holiday season. Lengthy waits, disconnected calls and unanswered e-mails translate into many angry customers.

·       Promise but don't deliver. There's nothing more frustrating than spending 30 minutes piecing together an order online and then, once the order is submitted and confirmed, discovering that the  item is on backorder or unavailable. Do everyone a big favor: Go real time or quit the business.

·       Message madness. If a customer has privileged you by signing up for marketing messages or other corporate communications, send e-mails and texts sparingly and make sure they're relevant. Otherwise, customers will soon quit your notifications and it will be extremely difficult to win them back.



2 Comments for "7 Ways to Piss Off Customers During the Holidays"

  • Adelayda August 27, 2013 12:59 pm

    Absolutely, good communication skills are important in all fields. Nowhere in the article do I suggest otherwise. However, an English degree is another matter altogether. In our current culture and economy, an English degree will just about qualify you for a minimum-wage job in a customer service call center. So while everyone needs acceptable English skills (the sort of skills that used to be taught in elementary school), a STEM education is far more bankable. No one will hire you merely because you know the perfect past tenses of irregular verbs or how to use the serial comma correctly. So study English in college if you want. But don't expect your English degree to put you among the haves in the future global economy.

  • the_fuzzy_one December 12, 2012 9:27 pm

    I have a couple more I've run into recently that boil down to Pay attention to why the customer is contacting you. I had one company try to up sell me while I was waiting on hold about ongoing account issues. I had an ISP suggest I use there website to resolve my issues (no internet access). ...

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