Some businesses seem to take pleasure in frustrating its tribe of customers. Do you really believe a frustrated customer is good for your business? Frustrating your customers leads to one thing in the long run – tribal destruction. Why? A frustrated customer quickly becomes an angry customer. Angry customers spread ill-will and discontent among the tribe.
Consider a few examples of deliberate customer frustration:
You attempt to move a domain name from one hosting company to another – only to discover the process has been made so intentionally difficult that it’s not worth the effort (true story about me and Yahoo!). The hosting company thinks they’ve kept your business – but have they, really?
You contact customer service only to discover you’re one day too late to return a product. You should be allowed to return it anyway. Don’t tell me about your policy – tell me you want to help me. I deserve to be treated better!
You contact customer service about returning a defective product – but you’re told you can’t return it because of clause 3-A-IX-3456.9 in the warranty agreement which states – “No products purchased on Tuesdays are covered under warranty.” How stupid of me – I should have known this……
You contact customer service to get help resolving a problem. The customer service person is friendly and sympathizes with your problem – however, she’s powerless to help you. Why is she answering the phone to begin with?
Your vacuum cleaner breaks down – to your delight it’s still covered under warranty. You’re told you’ll need to package it and have it shipped to the factory at your time and expense. You’re also told it will be six weeks before you receive your repaired vacuum. No vacuuming for six weeks? You don’t bother with it because it’s too much trouble. Easier to buy a new one – but never that brand again!
You leave a comment on a blog. You desire to keep up with the comment thread but only find an email subscription and no “subscribe via RSS”. Why? Perhaps the blogger believes this is a clever way to gain a permission asset? Just because I give you my email doesn’t mean you have my permission. No, it’s only a silly way to frustrate me and make me angry. This happened to me twice yesterday on prominent blogs that should know better. The last thing I need in this world is more stuff in my inbox. Have a heart, please!
This post might be amusing if it weren’t true. Even worse, in today’s tribal environment – everyone knows you’re intentionally frustrating your customers. We customers are talking more and more these days – don’t underestimate us! We’re becoming more and more tribal and powerful every day. The health of your business depends on us.