Business is so much easier than we make it out to be.  It is all about relationships, especially when it comes to our customers. Relationships are SO much easier than you make them. In fact, there are only a few things that you need to do in order to make your customers significantly happier and to help them know that their concerns are being heard.  Or rather, there are a few things you must stop doing and saying that will change your customers’ experiences drastically.

1. “It’s our policy.”

The problem with trying to treat customers the same across the board is that not every situation is cut and dried. And, frankly, some policies are just outdated. The moment you have to let a customer down by saying “it’s our policy,” you are failing that customer.

There are some company policies that have to be followed.  But there are also ways to mold or alter policies to make sure customers needs are being met.  Business is not a one size fits all.  We have to learn to be a little bit flexible in order to keep everyone happy, most of all our customers.  Because happy customers that get their needs met will become loyal customers.

2. “It was in your contract.”

Newsflash: nobody actually reads contracts. I’m not sure why anyone uses a big long legalese document to give customers upfront information about a service. It’s the worst way to present information in the universe. You may as well write it on a stone tablet.

I’m not saying your customers have no responsibility to read what they sign, but when you are excitedly signing up for a new service or website or whatever, the last thing you do is to sit and read a long document. And the salesperson moving the sale through doesn’t really give you much of a chance either.

Why not present limitations and terms and conditions in a readable, fun manner?  Create a short video, or a short list of the basics and then give them a place where they

3. “See our answer here [with link].”

Why not just talk to me? Seriously. If I ask something that is too long for a tweet, message, text, or email, then answer me with a few tweets/texts/emails. That’s cool.  Or better yet, pick up the phone and call me.

Find a way to get a response back to the customer.  An answer.  Then if they are still seeking more information you can guide them to a place where they can find the full details.  But start with a more human response.

4. [Insert Lame Company Excuse Here]

Your company woes are YOUR company woes…and quite often they are the result of bad decisions/deals you’ve made (short-term thinking). Your customers don’t care, nor should they. They just want to get the stuff they paid for. Don’t make excuses. Fix it. If you can’t fix it, own up to it and refund your customers. Apologize and hope that they will forgive you and come back when you’ve fixed your stuff.

The customer experience should be seamless and simple. The mess and duct tape and hoops behind the scenes?  Invisible to the customer’s eye.

5. [Silence]

It’s 2015 and 72% of customers expect a response within the hour on Twitter from your brand after they complain. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s during business hours or not.

I, personally, have a black list of companies I will no longer buy from after getting radio silence to a concern or complaint. I’m sure I’m not alone.

Even the most angry complaints can be handled. People are just upset and need to be heard. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was to respond to an angry complaint like this:

A. Identify
B. Apologize
C. Assist

Identifying completely diffuses a situation. Trust me on this one. Even if you can’t help someone, just identifying and apologizing will help. And that customer will feel a bit bad for blowing up at you. If they don’t come back, they’ll certainly tell the story differently. This time, you’ll be cool…not a jerk that doesn’t listen.

So there you go. Simple ways to respond to customers in a way that will help you build bonds and loyalty and probably a few more sales rather than letting angry customers fall through the cracks (and tell everyone they know about their awful experience).  In fact, take some of that billboard and other outbound advertising spend and put it into your inbound/customer service channels so you can totally empower them. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but I guarantee you that these interactions will benefit you.


I look forward to seeing you at the top of your business!


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