This may seem obvious, but why do companies still do it? I’ll start with a few vents of my own of things that annoy me.
Jingles. I despise corny company jingles that are played repeatedly on the radio, tv and even Pandora. Although not technically a business, the worst offender is 1-877-kars-4kids. It may be a great cause, but why would I donate to you when your jingle grates me every ten minutes or so on the radio? Can’t you just talk to me without singing to me? It’s not just me, the jingle has been called the “most annoying sound in the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEL8dGQj3I4. Google “I hate kars 4 kids” and you’ll see that many people are driven to drinking by the jingle.
Loyalty Cards. I Googled “I hate rewards cards” and had over 6 million hits, so I’m not alone. I credit Shaws for dropping these awful things. I will now shop there again. I won’t shop at CVS. Recently, Walgreens has gotten into the act, which is too bad because I like the new ‘greens in Downtown Boston. Doesn’t everyone hate to carry these cards (not to mention the invasion of privacy)? We are moving to simpler transactions, such as Level Up. Why do these stores compel us to dig through our wallets. And if you don’t carry them, you are being overcharged.
Maybe big businesses like CVS and Walgreens can get away with annoying their customers. Your private business probably cannot. As for service professionals, like lawyers, don’t nickel and dime your clients. Lawyers, for example, charge plenty per hour. Consider routine copies, faxes, phone calls and postage part of your overhead and not a profit center. And don’t talk down to your clients.
Do the opposite of annoying clients. Virtually all businesses would do well to be friendly and warm. This struck me this morning when I had my shoes shined at Colonial Shoe Repair near my office. The owner, Gret, introduced himself, asked my name and shook my hand. The shoe shine was great and at a fair price, but it was the personal attention that really sets Greg apart. I looked up the company, and not surprising Greg has a number of raving fans: http://www.yelp.com/biz/colonial-shoe-repair-boston
Is your business unwittingly biting the hands that feed it? Take a step back and try to put yourself in your client’s position. Ask your clients for feedback. Do random surveys. Ask what you are doing right or doing wrong. If you are just standing still and not listening and improving your product or services, your competitors will be passing you by.
By Adam P. Whitney