Hasty Business Systems Breed Angry Customers

by Michelle Salater on March 22, 2010

As companies constantly grow, shrink, and evolve, new business systems—from customer service systems to new service policies, return policies to changes in hours of operation—need to be put in place to ensure the business is operating efficiently. But by no means should your business systems compromise customer service and satisfaction.

A quick fix is one of the worst things you could do for your business when trying to implement new operation guidelines.

Be open about new systems / policies with your customers. Doing so will help build their trust in you. Inform customers via your website, in an email or letter, or in person (if applicable) about changes in business operations that may impede their purchasing decisions.

For example, if you own a shoe boutique and are employing new return policies, inform your customers with a sign on your front window or on the checkout counter, and also inform them of the change verbally.

Too many businesses put changes in fine print on receipts, their website, and their marketing materials, which customers most likely won’t take the time to read through.

One such business that has caused me great distrust and frustration with new company policies is Blockbuster.

In an effort to stay alive among fierce competition, such as Netflix and redbox rentals in grocery stores, Blockbuster has been trying to nail down ways to enforce appropriate return policies. However, they’re going about it in the wrong way.

Over the past few months, they have changed their return policy on me one too many times—without ever telling me. The result: I no longer want to rent from them. In fact, every time they changed their policy and I argued that I was never informed of the new policy, they told me it was on the receipt.

Why on earth would I read the receipt every time I rent a movie? And for that matter, why should I have to ask them every time I rent a movie, “What’s your return policy this week?”

Thanks to their constant and hasty return policy changes, I lost . . .

  • Money.
  • Customer satisfaction.

And they lost . . .

  • My trust.
  • My respect.
  • My business.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: company transparency is essential.

Whether you’re trying to find new ways to beat the competition or want to renovate a current policy that doesn’t seem to be working, it would behoove you to ask customers what they would like from your business and what changes they want to see implemented. Are they satisfied with your services? Are they satisfied with your policies?

Once you have a thorough understanding of your market’s needs, it’s time to create business policies based on their thoughts and opinions—and stick to them. Don’t keep changing your policies behind customers’ backs because you were hasty and need a quick fix. It loses clients’ trust in your business.

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If you like this post, you might also like:

  1. 7 Ways to Get and Keep Loyal Customers
  2. What Your Company Can Learn From Zappos Shoes
  • Nora
    We are on the same wave length...I mentioned Blockbuster in my blog this week, too. Don't be too hard on them, they are grasping at straws on their way down (bless their hearts). I hadn't been in a Blockbuster for ages and the other weekend we went in. The check out person did tell us about the late fees and how they changed. So, it maybe just a lazy/forgetful individual and not a company conspiracy.
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