Customer Service - More Than 100 Surefire Ways to Lose Your Customers

by Deborah Petersen - Date: 2007-01-22 - Word Count: 2220 Share This!

Some people are saying that customer service is the pits these days with surly sales people leading the way. Just in case you haven't conceived of every method to further alienate your clientele, we have come up with a list of ideas that are certain to drive customers away from your business. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, we offer the following tips to you:

Customer Service in General:

1. A closed mouth gathers no foot…speak boldly!

2. When the only customer service tools you have to work with is an axe, you will have hours filled with fun.

3. Try to come to an amicable conclusion…the place where you and the customer both got tired of arguing.

4. An irate customer is its own reward. Make someone's day.

5. Freely and frequently tell customers that you HATE your job.

6. Only provide one-word answers when customers ask questions.

7. If you're having a bad day, the quickest way to feel better is to take out your frustration on a customer.

8. Your day is not complete until you've sent yet another customer running away.

9. Pass the buck to another coworker; you're not in the mood to deal with this customer right now.

10. Creating some inaccuracy can save a world of explanation, ahem.

11. Best customer service award goes to: the one with the subtle blend of psychology and extreme violent behavior.

12. Make sure you try to upsell another product to the customer, no matter how much they argue they don't need it. You never know, they may not realize they could use something they didn't want until it was forced on them, and your commissions will go up!

13. If the shoe fits, beat the customer senseless with it.

14. Nope, nope, we can't alter that service for you, that's the way we do things here. Yes, I know we could probably DO it, but that's our policy, no alterations of any kind to the services for customers.

15. Act as distant and indifferent as possible to the customer; they'll eventually go away, I promise.

16. Ready?! Aim……FIRE!

17. Make it your policy to take pictures of customers that lodge a complaint. Then post them on the front door and use them as target practice for your dartboard gaming. That will surely slow down the complaints you receive.

18. When a customer asks where your blue widgets are, do NOT make eye contact, and simply mumble something under your breath. If they persist, just quickly point in its direction, but don't make the mistake of raising your head and looking their way or you're doomed; you'll be stuck with having to actually SHOW them where they are.

19. If you can't beat the customers, arrange to have them beaten.

20. Everything is an interruption. Someone comes into your store, it's an interruption. When the phone rings, it's an interruption. If a customer is in front of your face, it's an interruption. Heavy sigh. Everything these days is a bloody interruption!

21. If you're the acting manager, it's easy to duck out the back door if there's an irate customer making a complaint. They can't make a complaint to the manager if the manager isn't there, right?

22. When a customer is lodging a complaint, argue the matter in hand from YOUR standpoint, not theirs. Stand your ground!

23. It's not losing the argument that matters…it's how many you take down with you that counts.

24. Give the customer a very vague time frame of when they can receive delivery of the widget they ordered or when you'll arrive for their service call from somewhere between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Now for the fun part…don't show up, and don't call to let them know!

25. Don't deal with a complaint with reality. No one does. Deal with your OWN reality.

26. If you believe your customers are a pain in the butt, TELL them!

27. When the customer is wrong, they're dead wrong. TELL them!

28. Your Point of Sale Poster at an electronics store reads: Don't ask us to change the channel… the TV is for OUR enjoyment, not YOURS.

29. If you can't dazzle the customer with brilliance, riddle them with bullets.

30. Argue long enough to get the last word, and you just might get it!

31. Repetitive arguing with a customer will eventually establish your validity.

32. Tell the customer the item they want is in stock when it isn't, and quickly charge their order to their credit card. It will get restocked sooner or later…just put off their calls until it arrives, and you've made a quick sale! It's also hilarious fun to think of them checking their mailboxes each day for weeks on end with anticipation of its arrival.

33. Defeat to a customer ain't bitter if you can sprinkle them with a little dirty revenge.

34. Use voice mail on your telephone system with the option for customer service to 'press 2'. Have a canned recording for the customer to leave a message for screening purposes. Just don't return the complaint calls.

35. Our company's Mission Statement has been revised. Our goal is to see how many customers we can piss off this month.

36. If all else fails, blame the customer!

37. State that they're calling you a bitch like as if it was a bad thing.

38. When someone asks to speak to a manager, tell them none are available.

39. You can be one of those bad things that happens to good people.

40. Provide different store policies and services throughout your store that conflicts just to confuse people.

41. A good scapegoat is hard to find…do your earnest to find yours.

42. An argument long winded enough will end up in semantics.

43. When all else fails, mumble.

44. Anyone can admit they were wrong…the true test is not admitting it to anyone!

45. Be the best at talking in circles, for you shall be known as the 'big wheel'.

46. Tell the customer you didn't say it was their fault…you said you were going to blame them.

47. Inform the customer they have the right to remain silent. Anything they say will be misquoted then used against them.

The Customer Service Counter:

48. To hell with calm and rational discussion with customers over refunds…now is the time for shameless bickering!

49. Sign at customer service desk: Thank you for not annoying us more than you already are.

50. What part of our policy for things not covered for returns -- 1) changing your mind; 2) found cheaper price; 3) things you didn't need but you couldn't resist the price -- do you not understand?!

51. Sign at customer service counter: I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandmother…not screaming and yelling like the customers I shot yesterday.

52. Let's see…we've got your name, address, rank and serial number, home number, cell phone number, your mother's maiden name…oh yes, we still need…

53. Guaranteed your money back…if we feel like it.

54. Sign at customer service desk: If you can read this, you are within aim range…oops, I mean in proper file formation.

55. Sign at customer service: Don't get me mad…I'm running out of places to bury the bodies.

56. Never underestimate the power of stupidity when you're the customer service manager.

57. There is always one person in the customer service department that understands and works well with people. This person must be fired.

58. Tell the customer you're sorry to hear they're unhappy. Now follow through the process of closing their account. You'll never have to be bothered by them again!

59. When a customer brings back an item for return that you sent them in error, try to talk them into keeping it. If they flatly refuse, try to talk them into splitting the cost of re-stocking the item.

60. Make the customer angry enough in a manner to make them happy to be leaving. At that point you've done your job!

61. Sign at customer service counter: Bring on the customer return beheadings!

How to Anger a Customer Even Further:

62. When a customer makes a complaint, just give them a blank stare. If that doesn't work, give them attitude. It will work every time!

63. Throw the customer a stick and ask them to go away.

64. Show the customer you can get even madder than they are, and yell louder than they can.

65. Take on a bad attitude. It will surely diminish any façade of friendliness the customer may have mistakenly taken.

66. State if you agreed with them you'd both be wrong.

67. Keep looking at your watch while the customer is vocalizing their complaint.

68. Treat the customer like they're a waste receptacle. End of that story.

69. Tell the customer you've fixed the problem. But don't do anything…at ALL.

70. Explain that just because you don't care about their problem doesn't mean you don't understand.

71. State you're there to help them out, then ask which way they came in.

72. Tell the customer you're busy and they're not the only one waiting.

73. Tell them you refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

74. Tell the customer the way you see it, there doesn't seem to be any problem.

75. Explain that their warrantee expired upon payment of their invoice.

76. Keep talking until the customer finally stops listening.

77. Tell the customer to commit suicide and be done with it. After all, millions of lemmings can't be wrong.

78. Inform the customer that this is the best time for them to just shut up.

79. State that you'll try to be nicer if they'll try to be smarter.

80. Sarcasm is just one of the many good services we offer.

Ways to Handle Telephone Calls:

81. Sorry, I can't take your order…I'm on lunch break.

82. Throw the customer on hold before they can squeak out 'Hello'. Now you can take that much desired coffee break.

83. If you have an angry customer on the phone; don't waste your time with it…simply hang up!

84. Throw a big wad of gum in your mouth when answering the phone…remember to chew with your mouth open. That goes for eating your lunch while answering phones as well.

85. Tell the customer to call back when you're not so busy.

86. Rush through calls, forcing customers off the phone at the earliest opportunity.

87. Slam the receiver in the customers' ear when you hang up to break their eardrums, or drop the receiver on the floor while talking to them. Even a good couple of whacks on a desk with the receiver in hand during conversation should suffice.

88. Tell the customer 'that's not my department, call back and ask for someone else to help you'.

89. Try waiting to see how long a customer will sit on hold before they finally hang up and go away.

90. Tell the customer they're going to have to repeat their information; you're only the third person they've had to speak to thus far.

91. Tell the customer that someone will be calling them back within 1 hour. But don't follow through with it whatever you do!

Courier Service Companies:

92. Flipping the bird in traffic and making rude gestures while you've got your company logo and phone number on the vehicle.

93. Drive in reverse to the receiving door and slam on the brakes and watch it fly…'Here's your delivery! We don't do hand bombing!'

94. Sure, we're available 365 / 24 / 7 to serve you…just don't call us after 2pm or on weekends.

95. God help the customers today…our dispatcher quit smoking last night.

96. You want it when? Then laugh out loud when they answer.

97. Here's our rate sheet…de jour.

98. We only have 1 truck today…you'll have to pay tractor trailer rates for that skid.

99. Sorry, the driver had a flat tire…again.

100. Sorry, we don't take envelopes on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays…only high paying jobs.

101. Open unmarked small brown paper packages, then deliver to customer. Then make comments on their contents.

102. One tequila…two tequila…three tequila…floor.

At Restaurants:

103. If you're the waiter and a customer complains about their food, make sure to instill the fear of what the cook (or you for that matter) can do with their food when they send it back…you know what I mean. They'll think twice about following through with that complaint!

104. Be a ghost. Only appear to their table when you can't escape the customers' sight. When you finally get around to giving them their bill, give them someone else's with a much higher total. Cha-ching $$$.

105. Strike up an argument with the customer as to why they didn't give you a fatter tip…you deserve better!

At the Checkout Counter:

106. Be sure to turn your back on the customer standing at the till and do spill ALL about the great time you had at that party last night to your coworker. Don't forget to tell your friend about that awesome outfit you wore to the party either.

107. Your Point of Sale Poster at the checkout counter reads: If you like us, tell us. If you don't, don't tell US your problems.

108. How do I set my cash register on stun?

Miscellaneous Customer Service:

109. Customer stress is waking up screaming, then realizing you haven't gone to sleep yet.

110. If you can't beat your customer in an argument, try kickboxing.

111. Deja moo: The feeling you've heard this customer bull before.

112. An armed sales rep equals one very polite customer.

Have you had enough? Likely, your customers have! In all seriousness, customer service doesn't have to be that bad, but it is easy to see how easily it can degenerate. The next time you feel like "dissing" those who support your business, then reference this article for a "your wake up call".

Related Tags: poor, customer service, customer services, good customer service, complaint, bad service, lousy

Copyright 2006 -- Deborah Petersen is a Partner for Fast Lane Transport Ltd. & Hotshot, a freight trucking company whose specialty is providing Edmonton Courier Service and Hotshot (Hot Shot) Trucking for clients from their Edmonton base, serving western Canada.

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