Why One Donut Shop Lost Their Loyal Customer With One Sentence

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is a mantra to live by, not just so that you can get along with people and have a happier life, but so you can boost your productivity and success in life. If you are a business owner or have a following of people while blogging, vlogging, or influencing in some other way, this is especially true because the way you treat people can affect whether or not you keep your customers. A productive and successful business is based on happy customers. You can easily lose customers over big things, but sometimes the small, inconsiderate things push them away too.

Success And Productivity Are Greatly Affected By How You Treat Customers

If you run any kind of business, you know that your customers are the key to your success.  They are the ones who watch you, listen to you, buy from you, help you, and promote you.

Treating your customers well ensures success by:

  • Earning repeat customers who buy products repeatedly and are open to buying new products.
  • Helping you develop an army of people who promote your business for free.
  • Helping you maintain a good reputation online and in the community so you can attract new customers.

Bad customer service reaches twice as many people as praise for a good service experience. – Source

Being polite to your customers can also help boost your productivity by wrapping up misunderstandings quickly. You don’t get stuck in back-and-forth emails or interactions with unhappy people, so you can spend your time doing better things.

Even when you get complaints from extremely unhappy people, a little politeness can go a long way to resolving issues quickly. People just want to be heard and feel respected and validated. If you can give upset customers that, you will find that they quickly lose the anger and are more willing to listen to your side of things.

Step Out Of Your Shoes And Into Your Customer’s Shoes

I used to run a blog geared towards single men looking for love. It was voiced from a female perspective, meant to help men understand where women are coming from, how they think, what they want, etc. That blog received a lot of angry and downright rude comments.

I got emails from men who figured women were not capable of understanding themselves and giving advice about women.

I got emails from men who just hated women in general.

It was frustrating, to say the least.

But, I learned quickly that you need to be polite to your customers (readers, subscribers, followers, etc.), even if they disagree, don’t understand your intentions, or are rude. Normally some kindness dissolves all of that negativity.

It takes a little patience, understanding, and compassion. You need to step into their shoes, see where they are coming from, and think before you react. That simple process can help you change some angry customers into some loyal and dedicated customers.

Don’t Add In That Little Unnecessary Word Or Response That Makes You Feel Better

Even a response that is mostly polite, but ends with a touch of blame, criticism, or anger, can turn off a customer for life.

For instance, I recently talked to a woman who was turned off from her favorite donut shop because of one small, unnecessary sentence.

Her husband was driving down to pick up some donuts and was 40 minutes out of his way when she suddenly noticed an update on Facebook from the donut shop. It read that they were sold out of donuts and that they would be open on the weekend. It gave their hours for the weekend as well.

She Felt The Need To Comment

She called her husband and said they would have to go pick up donuts on the weekend. Then she commented on the donut shop’s post.

She asked if they were sure that they would be open for their full hours on the weekend and not closing three hours early like they had that day, and she asked if they could give more notice if they were going to run out of donuts.

She wasn’t happy. Her husband had gotten off early to get these donuts, and he had wasted a lot of time and gas by driving so far out of his way. And she had been looking forward to those donuts because she had family coming over that evening and she wanted to impress them with how good vegan desserts could taste – as this donut shop serves vegan donuts.

They responded by saying they were still open, they just had no donuts. They made an excuse about why they were late informing customers that they were out of donuts. And, they suggested that people call ahead and book a box if they knew they were coming to avoid the wasted drive.

But then, in the end, they added in a little sentence about how they just needed to clarify some of the details she was assuming.

One Sentence Turned Her Off The Donut Shop Forever

They never said they were still open. Instead, they said they were out of donuts and gave their hours for the next few days. So it was natural she came to the assumption they were closed.

But, telling her that she was making assumptions was putting the blame on her (as if she should have known better) and not taking ownership of their post that lacked information that was needed in order to help people not to draw their own conclusions.

It was a little thing. But because she was already upset with them, it cost them a customer for life.

She told me that she felt bad for asking and for not knowing. She felt like she was being shamed for asking the questions that were apparently assumptions in the owner’s eyes and not legitimate questions. And those negative feelings are now permanently associated with that small donut shop and the owners.

Another Business Will Now Get Her Business

Because she had been such a loyal customer to this donut shop, she had never looked around for other vegan donuts shops. But, once this happened, she did and quickly found a new place with a similar product.

What impressed her most was that this new place responded to comments, concerns, and even complaints with consistent kindness, understanding, and respect!

Think Before You React To Customer’s Comments, Concerns, Or Complaints

All this donut shop had to do was not add in the sentence that told her they needed to clarify her assumptions and they would have avoided hurt feelings and kept her as a customer.

In fact, all they had to do was politely tell her the facts and apologize for any inconvenience.

And that’s a lesson I think all of us business owners can benefit from.

It’s important to understand that your customers don’t always know what’s going on in your head, what your business is all about, and other information that may be relevant to their concerns. And complaints usually stem from that fact.

If you are informative and answer politely and honestly, you will more than likely keep your customers. If you need to find a solution to make them happy, you will more than likely keep your customers.

But, if you try to avoid all blame and ensure they know that they are at fault in some way, not you, then they will find another place to take their business no matter how unique you think your business is.

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