Bad advice: How to lose a client and ruin your reputation

It is easy to lose clients at any stage – from the first meeting to contacting technical support. Let's analyze the situations when this happens – obvious and not so obvious. And to make it more transparent, let's do it in a comedic way, in the form of harmful advice. Check whether your employees are also losing customers and ruining the company's reputation.
Ideal supports are not allowed to read!

Katerina Vinokhodova
Usedesk Co-Owner

Don't ask the client – invoice immediately

At the time of the sale, find out what the client really wants, what his tasks and needs are. If he comes and says that he needs your service, do not ask about anything; immediately issue an invoice. This will maximize your sales.

In no case should you try to find out why the client suddenly decided to come to you. Don't ask him how he wants to use your product, what goals he wants to achieve with it, and in what cases he will need it. There is no need to waste time on this; immediately take the client into circulation and explain to him your product's excellent and numerous functions and how universal your product is. Put maximum emphasis on the fact that your product is suitable for absolutely everyone and, of course, for him too. Don't let the client get in a word in the conversation: the more you say, the better. God forbid, if the client asks you something, then you can easily screwing up.

Agreeing with a client about everything under the sun is complete nonsense. Okay, you just waste time, but suddenly your product does not suit the client at all, and he finds out about it before he buys something from you. In no case should this be allowed: first you sell, and then you figure it out. And it's better not to figure it out later.

Just imagine: a client comes, and you sell him for 1,000,000 rubles. The salesperson and other participants in the process have already received bonuses, all the money has been spent, and then the client suddenly remembers that he needs some additional functionality – for example, some kind of report. It turns out that at the very beginning of the communication, the salesperson forgot to say that you do not have such a report. What can you do in this case? This is our second harmful advice.

Never keep promises on time

If it turns out that your service does not have the desired function, ask the client for more money and name the shortest possible time in which you will present this function to him. Don't even think about meeting these deadlines. If you promise something, in no case should you write it down anywhere. Customer stories and deadlines are evil. After all, even if you still make the same report to the client or, in the worst case, are on time within the agreed time frame, it is highly likely that over time, other functions that the client needs that you do not have will emerge. And so you don't have to promise anything. Use our following piece of bad advice.

Ignore the customer

As soon as you sell your product or services to a customer, immediately stop responding to their messages and calls. Or at least do so with the maximum delay. Answer inappropriately, do not give direct answers to questions, and never anticipate the client's next questions and the consequences that your answer might have. It is better to immediately throw out a link, even if the article does not quite fit the client's question. How to avoid communicating with an overly annoying client is our next tip.

Hide all your contacts and hide

To reduce the number of incoming calls and not give the client a chance to load you with additional work, be sure to hide all your contacts and feedback form as deeply as possible. No incoming calls – no problem.

Another option is to leave only one mail-in contact and, when the client writes to it, give him a new address because another department is dealing with his issue and not the one that parses incoming requests.

Or vice versa, place on the Contact Us page 10-20 email addresses of different departments, or even better – employees. The longer the list, the better, so that clients will become completely confused and will not know who to contact with their questions, which means they will not bother you with their problems.

And if it so happens that the client, by some miracle, still manages to get through to you, move on to the next piece of bad advice.

Make as much mistakes as possible

Try to mow down everywhere and in everything, especially if you have regular customers. To begin with, they answered something wrong; the employees mixed something up – it's already all good. When the client comes back, be sure to make another mistake, then over and over again, so he will understand that your support service is working stably and there will be no surprises with you.

And never, under any circumstances, offer compensation for your mistakes. All sorts of newfangled topics about bonuses, refunds, and promotions are evil. Otherwise, clients will sit on your neck and constantly make demands of you. Such consumer extremism will cost you.

In general, for support agents, we have some separate bad advice. Use them in every response to a user to provoke a negative reaction from the client—more on this below.

When a customer contacts support, piss him off by any means necessary

Do not specify anything – go straight to solving the problem. If the client does not lag and addresses the next problem, try to understand what he wants. If suddenly you do not understand something, never clarify or try to find a common language. Just say, "I didn't understand. What do you have in mind?" This is the perfect phrase for such an occasion. Repeat the question over and over again – drag out the dialogue as long as possible. The client will definitely repeat everything in the same way, and you will not understand anything.

Even if it seems to you that you understood something but you still have doubt, never specify whether you understood correctly. Just go and solve the problem that you think the client wrote about. When you have done everything and bring the solution to the client, be sure to insist that he wanted precisely this and described this problem exactly.

Ignore some of the client's questions. When the client has asked several questions, it is better to answer only one of them, and not necessarily the first one. Maybe he will forget about the rest of the questions and will never return. Well, why do you need the extra load?

Use complex terms and constructs. Be sure to use borrowed words from different languages and technical terms that you spied in the chat with the developers: request, sprint, crunch, authentication, and so on. Don't even think about agreeing on wording: the more discrepancies with the client in understanding the essence of the problem, the better.

The vocabulary you use when communicating with a client is very important. Be sure to add bureaucracy, formalism, and various complex constructions in your correspondence. This will help the client understand that all your words matter and that you are a serious organization. For example, with each of his requests, write something like "Your appeal number such-and-such was considered within the timeframe established by our regulations, and in connection with your appeal, our department made such-and-such a decision." Customers will immediately start to respect you.

Don't bother with screenshots. If you need to send a screenshot, be sure to make it so that the entire page is on it. Never crop to the desired section. In no case should you add arrows there, and do not circle the important places.

In general, it is best to add screenshots with links that do not open. You can send them as attachments and write: "Screenshot one, look at the attachment," "Screenshot two, look at the attachment." The more screenshots you send, the better. None of them should be in the text of your explanation but instead separately hidden in attachments. Ideally, they don't need to be named at all – let them be as they are: file 01, file 350, file 44—no need to waste time on renaming. Aerobatics – send a document with links to attachments, and let them figure it out themselves. They will get smarter.

Respond with solid blocks of text. If you have a rather detailed answer and the client asked several questions, don't divide the text into paragraphs – write everything in solid block form. Learn from the greats. Have you read War and Peace? Have you seen the paragraphs there? There are paragraphs over several pages. Take an example from this; you are not just some support department that will chew everything up and put it in the client's mouth. Everything should be in block form – no paragraphs, and God forbid you highlight important information.

Mirror the emotions of the client or be indifferent. In general, being on the same wavelength with a client is the best thing support can do. If the client yells at you, you yell at him; if the client is upset and crying, you, too, should be upset with him and cry.

If you can't mirror the client's emotions, use the second technique – don't notice them. Be indifferent. He screams, panics, asks for help, and says that he needs something very urgently? Don't react. There is no need to wind things up even more emotionally. Just say, "Hello, tell me your phone number." And that's all. He will see that you are not worried about anything, are confident in yourself and know your business, and he will begin to respect you.

If you do not know the answer, feel free to talk about it. If you are a new employee or have missed something at work, be sure to tell the client about it. Feel free to confront him with a fact and justify your ignorance by any means necessary. This method is suitable even for experts because anything can happen in life. The client should understand your position and understand that you, after all, are also human, and support does not have to know everything in the world. So some human relationship will remain between you: he does not know, and you do not know – so you talk about it.
Checklist: How to retain a client and build a good reputation
  1. Before selling, find out if your product is suitable for the customer.

  2. If you have promised to fix or improve something, be sure to announce the deadlines and always stick to them.

  3. During working hours, be in touch; do not disappear.

  4. Place your contacts so that customers can easily find them and understand where to go with their questions.

  5. Try not to screw up, but if this happens, apologize and offer compensation in the form of bonuses, and if something irreparable happens, return the money.

  6. When a customer contacts support:
  • Make sure you understand his question correctly.
  • If the client asks several queries at once, answer each one; do not leave questions unanswered.
  • Exclude from communication borrowed words from different languages, technical terms, clericalism, formalisms and various complex constructions.
  • Insert screenshots as you explain and highlight the necessary fragments with arrows and frames.
  • Divide large text into paragraphs.
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