Tips for Entrepreneurs: Baker’s dozen plus 1

I fear that many of you, dear readers, may have eye trouble.

workplace 311 (photo credit: Veronica Therese)
workplace 311
(photo credit: Veronica Therese)
I fear that many of you, dear readers, may have eye trouble. You cannot see the things your customers see that send them running to your competitors! I’ve struggled with how to explain these wisdoms to you since no one wants to hear what not to do. So I am going to tell you what to do to ensure your customers never return to spend another shekel with you.
In the spirit of Purim, I’ve asked some folks in the business world to help me explain what you, dear reader, can do to make sure your customers never come back again. Together we have come up with suggestions that tell you how to make your business so repelling, that if you were to follow even a few of them, you could easily be out of business by the end of the year. If not that, then at least your best customers will decide to move to your competitors and never do business with you again.
Criticize, humiliate, scold and shame your customers
After all, they should all listen to you, Mr. & Mrs. Knows-better-than- the-customer. Lisa Rafal of Lice Lifters® cleans lice. (Yep, there are many businesses out there that are doing mundane things in a creative way to make a living.) She told me, “One of my clients told me that a competitor scolded her for not realizing her children had lice and actually made one of her children cry. You can bet she’s never going to see that family or a referral from them either!”
Forget about your existing customers
Reward anyone who wants to be a new customer, but don’t allow your loyal or current customers to have the same offer. Or you could make a point of advertising your commitment to excellent customer service and no-excuses help with customer questions, and then set up your phone system so callers have to wait for hours, or endure a computer program that has them punching buttons until their fingertips bleed.
Don’t list your contact information or email so anyone can simply email or mail you with a complaint. Actually, ensure that people have to work very, very hard to get in touch with you at all. That way you can forget about the people who got you where you are today and focus on the ones who haven’t spent any money with you at all.
Keep customers unhappy and stuck with what they’ve already purchased
Refusing to make good when the product or service is not what the customer expected or not satisfactory in quality. (Shel Horowitz, marketing consultant, speaker and primary author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green.)
Charge exorbitant shipping rates
Charging exorbitant rates for shipping that demonstrate you see it as a profit center and not the transparent, pass-through service that might be a missed opportunity for your competitors. (David L. Dallaire of Fennec Consulting.)
Ignore customers until they have saturated every social-media avenue they have with complaints about you
By ignoring emails, calls, text messages and all attempts by a customer to reach you to attempt to settle an issue or complaint privately, you can ensure they will turn to social media to reach out to you. After they have blogged, tweeted, FaceBooked, Stumbled and LinkedIn their complaints, anger and frustration, you will have the attention of millions. And millions will have the details of what a lousy business owner you are. Before you decide to respond, you will have ensured millions of potential customers make sure they never use your product or service again, or ever. (Becky Blanton, TED Global speaker, journalist and author.)
Still doing customer service in house? Feh!
Replace your current customer-service people with a call center, preferably in a country where most people don’t speak your language very well. Outsourcing customer service comes right before outsourcing profits. Customer service has to be a core competency for any company. If it isn’t one now, it better become one. Soon. Turning it over to someone else is in effect turning over the future of the company. (Barry Maher, author and speaker.)
Jack up prices – and tell them it’s because your prices have gone up
Tell your clients that your company has increased its fee structure on account of growing internal costs. (Customers know costs go up, but make them feel like they are taking the brunt of the raise and you aren’t impacted at all.)
Seriously, if you need to increase your fee structure, that’s fine and understandable. But don’t increase prices for existing customers! Give them a promo code or whatever you need to do to keep them at their signed-upon rates, and let them know you value them so much you would never raise your prices for them because they are so loyal. Present the new pricing scheme to new business. (David Greenberg of Parliament Tutors.)
Spam your customers often – after all, they miss you!
Another great way to repel customers is to spam them with newsletters and email updates. It gives them a warm and fuzzy feeling to get yet another email and newsletter, with not a drop of anything they would find compelling and feel like they are being treated with respect. After all, don’t we all love for someone to attempt to sell us things we don’t want to buy?
What? You thought tips had to be earned?
Add automatic gratuity. Gratuity is given based on the level of service. Adding a gratuity promotes servers to become complacent and underperform, and it is insulting to the customer, as if they cannot figure out how to tip, or reward, for an excellent EXPERIENCE at your establishment.
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Issamar Ginzberg is a rabbi, businessman, public speaker and marketer.