Posted by: southwestcrm | February 26, 2009

7 Ways to lose all your customers and create a big mess

7 Ways to lose all your customers and create a big mess

When a customer calls, make them wait while you dig out their account information. Often this means looking for the quote on a network hard drive, ringing accounts dept to find out if a payment has gone through or an order processed. But whatever the query is, if you don’t have a quick-to-access centralised system to keep together all this information you’ll leave your customer waiting, waiting, going, going, gone.


The phone rings, the customer account details pop up on screen in your customer relationship management system (CRM) showing account details, aged debt, order status, outstanding complaints, next visit date, product interests etc, etc… “Good morning John, I see you have an outstanding order… outstanding!, what can I do for you today”

2. During an active complaint about some widget they bought from you, Ring them to sell them more stuff

Imagine this. You’ve just bought a new all singing laptop with a 52.something terrorhtz processor. during a very important end of month accounts process, the bl**dy thing won’t start up. You ring customer service and wait for a call back while they (very nicely maybe) try and resolve the issue within 3.4 hours. In the meantime the sales department at “Laptops-to-go Ltd” (whom you purchased this machine from) calls you with a special offer on said laptop if you buy within the next 24hrs.

Now, not only do you want to send the f-ing think back, the company has the gall to reduce the price and taunt you with a “ha-ha, you’ve already bought one at the higher price”. A great way to lose a customer.


The salesperson at Laptops-to-go is working through their customer call sheet in their CRM system. Against your name is a flag alerting them to the fact that there is an active issue with your account. The salesperson calls you, empathises and promises to keep track of the issue. Once the issue is resolved the salesperson calls you to check you are happy, asks how the system is now, points out why its was such a good buy (or something like that) and suggests that some later models now include additional features….. you know the rest.

3. Keep sending marketing messages via email even though they opted-out from the last 20 you sent them

Here’s a great one to really p***s off your best customers and break the law at the same time. Perfect.

The best thing to do here is don’t give your customer a way to opt-out from a routine marketing message. This will irate the customer no end. Even better include a link in the email which they click if they want to opt-out from future emails, BUT just ignore this and keep on sending them important junk. Ok, so I’m being little facetious here but its easily (and innocently) done. Take for example the following story. Each member of staff at Widget Co. is responsible for their own activities and, accordingly, has developed their own systems. Some use Excel, others use their Outlook Contacts list. Each sends out mailings. Now, the issue comes when someone wants to opt-out from receiving future mailings from Widget Co. ummm. How to notify all the different systems? Not likely.


You deploy a CRM system for all staff to use. One shared contact list. The CRM system is web-based so that all opt-out links clicked immediately mark that contact as having ‘opted-out’. Now, whenever anyone in the company tries to send a marketing message to the opted-out contact they will be omitted from the send list.

Result: 1) Customer not p***ed off and may opt back-in the future. 2) No manual effort to process opt-out’s

4. Choose to keep all information hidden away inside Word documents and put them on some network drive where staff cannot find, can delete or can create a copy on a local hard drive.

You make damn sure that quotes etc are written in Microsoft Word, stored on the network somewhere so that they can be accessed by all staff. Even better, organise the network folders by customer name. Even easier to find, yes? Well, no actually. In practice this method becomes pretty inefficient and ineffective.

It’s not efficient because you have to create alternative processes to keep track of things like buying patterns and new business forecasts etc. Often when quotes become orders someone somewhere (maybe in accounts) has to retype the details into another electronic system (probably not Word).


The CRM system stores product and service lines and produces quotations which become linked to contacts in the database. One place to locate anything to do with the contact.

Now I’m not suggesting you don’t use MS Word or similar to PRINT the quote. It’s just that this way, analysis can be achieved without double entry. You can easily see the level of business potential by customer, market, product line, sales area or whatever tickles your fancy. And when it comes to winning the order, just press a button and produce an invoice… Hey presto!

5. Buy expensive CRM software and leave no money for set up. End up with the Rolls Royce of card index systems

I like this one. It happens a lot. You recognise that you need more enquiries and better customer service so you go out and buy the latest and greatest CRM system with x days set up and away you go. It’s pricey but functional and should pay for itself through increased new business and a happier customer base. You invest and 6 months later it’s a great system for looking up a phone number and logging stuff into it. Moreover, some within your organisation don’t use it or prefer to use their old system. You’re not sure what benefits have been realised. The CRM provider says you can get a lot more out of it but its needs setting up and this is going to cost you more. Ouch.


You look a little deeper into the CRM market place and realise that there are as equally capable systems out there for a fraction of the price of the mainstream systems. You decide to use the money saved on licenses purchased and spend it more wisely on defining effective workflows and processes that are easy to use and which are far more likely to be adopted by users.

6.Rather than buy the right TYPE of CRM system for your business and industry, you buy what was recommended to you buy a friend or because you liked the look of one.

CRM is an over used acronym which covers many systems and business functions. From specialist call centres to personal information managers. From systems for B2B marketing to B2C marketing. You wouldn’t buy a rally car to go circuit racing. If you do, you can be sure the customer and staff experience will be a frustrating one fraught with technology hurdles to drag down your business efficiency and hamper customer service.


Well. Just look for the right type for your industry, or employ a CRM specialist or contract in a CRM consultant.

7. Knowledge is power and ultimate job security!

Keep all information and call history about a customer in your head. This way everyone else in your company will be kept in the dark about a customer and will have to ask YOU for information.


Share the information with colleagues, put key dates in a shared database. Who knows, maybe your colleagues will do also and eventually you start to speak the same language and put your customers at the heart of your business. Where it belongs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: