Biz Features

10 Annoyingly Preventable Ways You Turn Off Customers

by . February 25th, 2015

Nobody’s perfect. But there’s always some little way we can make the world a better place. For our customers, anyway.

It’s funny that even as we place a high premium on connectivity and social media presence, the way we value common sense has barely caught up. If at all.

Which of these customer experience-defiling sins are you guilty of?

10.) Not mentioning opening hours


Regardless of whether you run an brick-and-mortar operation, or an online store this information has absolutely got to be where customers could see it, otherwise they may take their business elsewhere. How many times have you found a store that had something you needed that was closed when you found it — but frustratingly never said when you should come back? Not much fun, isn’t it?

9.) Not posting contact details where we could see them

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Even worse is being just plain unreachable. It totally boggles the mind how and why any enterprise that bothers to print out flyers or make a website bury or outright omit information this crucial.

8.) Obtrusive pop ups


They weren’t fun when they came out in the 90’s either, and they’re still hated to this day. Sure, there’re apps and plugins that prevent us from seeing most of  them, but don’t think you don’t look pathetically needy when your site has them.

On the other hand, there are a few legitimate reasons to have them, as well as tasteful ways to display them. Just make sure they’re easy to close.

7.) Liberal use of buzzwords and marketing-speak

With A Megaphone By A Wall

For all the talk about everyone getting dumber and having shorter attention spans, customers today can be extremely sophisticated and are getting better at seeing through spin than ever before. Respect them, know what they need, and don’t think for a second you’re better than them.

6.) Cliché branding


Nothing ruins your credibility and reveals how unoriginal you can be like a cliché. You don’t stand out by looking like everyone else. There has to be something else to your brand.

5.) Not having enough change ready


In the United States there are no Federal statutes mandating that a private business must accept currency or coins as for payment, and private businesses are free to develop their own policies on what amounts of cash or denominations they may unless there is a State law that says otherwise.

Regardless of the jurisdiction however, being chronically unable to accept large (or not so large) denominations because you won’t have the cash on hand to break it can be very annoying, and leave a bad taste in one’s mouth.

4.) Sharing self-serving posts on other business’s pages


Please don’t do this. There are many legitimate alternatives to this that don’t reflect poorly on your business. Those spam messages you’ve been leaving on blogs like this rarely work either.

3.) Having a menu that’s a trillion items long

In a previous post Setting Your Autopilot – 8 Ways to Streamline Decision-making Habits, we’d discussed why it’s a good idea to limit choices. While it might seem like a good idea to present customers with plenty of options, in practice all this does is to slow them down and give them an undue amount of pressure – possibly causing them to not buy anything altogether.

There are situations where you’d be better off giving customers a wide selection, true. But even if you could, it’s usually better to limit what is readily available to things they might actually want.

2.) Using frontliners as meat shields for complaints

Call Center by EcoVirtual via photopin cc

We all want to be heard. We all want to believe we matter. Unfortunately, avoiding direct accountability has become kind of a sport for businesses of all sizes. When customers complain or otherwise give critical feedback, there should be a reasonable expectation that some kind of resolution will be attempted.

But a lot of the time, complaints don’t even make it past mostly powerless customer service reps, or salespeople, who are then forced to take most of the heat while the ones on top are free to ignore things. Thankfully, online review services have made it much harder for many businesses to ignore valid customer issues.

1.) Empty engagement


#2 is actually a subset of this even bigger concept. While it’s true to a point that you could “fake it till you make it”, even the less cynical of us are able to spot most phoney attempts at “customer rapport” from miles away.

Yeah everyone knows your contests and giveaways aren’t remotely selfless. But people do know when you’re sincere in trying to solve problems and keep people happy. When you’re only in it for yourself and not because you want to deliver something people want, it shows and your brand is worse off for it.


Image credits:  Gunmakers Arms M & B – 92 and 93 Bath Street, Birmingham – Opening Hours – sign via photopin (license)Venice Italy – Creative Commons by gnuckx via photopin (license)Dog Vices: Booze and Greed via photopin (license)New offer! via photopin (license)Phonenumber Tagging via photopin (license)


What other simple ways can your business avoid annoying customers? Comment below!


Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.