Updated: May 3
It’s been said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but you should probably aim to keep your prospects and customers positive about your company all the same.
It doesn’t matter how great your products or the deals you offer may be if every interaction with your company leaves your customers disgruntled.
Fortunately, plenty of companies out there have made plenty of mistakes for us to learn from, so we have a pretty clear idea of what really pisses customers off - and what you should be doing to keep them happy, satisfied and buying.
Here are eight big mistakes to avoid:
1. Letting listings go out of date
Customers expect to be able to check up on special hours for holidays, accurate contact information and new social media posts through their network of choice.
This means that letting your Google+ and Google business listing go out of date can piss off quite a number of customers who expect a quick Google search to fill them in on anything they need to know.
The same holds true for every other major (and minor) listing area on the internet.
Bing, your Facebook page, your Twitter - all of these should have accurate and up to date information at all times at bare minimum.
2. Sending ads to broken pages
It’s hard to get customers to click on ads online, so it should be really obvious that you never want to be sending ad clicks to broken landing pages, yet businesses do it all the time.
Perhaps you forgot about an old ad campaign during a site redesign, or maybe a marketing agent mistyped the address when they were putting it into Adwords or a newsletter.
No matter why it happened, it’s going to piss your customers off.
Furthermore, broken links on your website look bad to search engine crawlers, meaning those dead landing pages might just be pushing you down in competitive search results.
So, checking both for broken links and whether guests ending up on empty pages should be a natural part of your SEO and website management.
3. Being stingy with promos
Nothing gets a customer more excited than a paltry 10% off voucher paired with countless exclusions and a novel's worth of fine print.
Unfortunately, it’s the kind of excited that leads them to yell about you on social media and tell their friends how much you suck, not the kind of excited that leads to purchases and a long, positive relationship as a repeat customer.
Whether you want to make a splash for new customers or old, do it right with a big, clean slash to prices that everyone can understand and appreciate.
30% off may feel like a lot to lose on one deal, but it’s all about the customer's next sale - and their friends’ sales, and their blog readers’ sales, and so on.
4. Pushing politics loudly
Customers don’t love it when a product they’re interested in turns out to be associated with politics they hate. In the modern era of hyper-partisan politics, you want to think long and hard before you use your business to push political views.
Unless it’s core to your brand image or your marketing demographics skew heavily to favor a particular type of politics, stay silent on politics.
The backlash for opening your mouth without thinking about it can be devastating in 2018.
This is also a good reason to keep track of what’s going on in politics and world events, to avoid accidental missteps that seem political - just look at the companies that mess up by jumping into hashtags they don’t understand during tragic events.
5. Hiding unsubscribe links
Even happy repeat customers occasionally get sick of marketing emails.
When they do, you want them to be able to unsubscribe quickly and easily, lest they stop being happy and satisfied customers and become angry and hostile.
There’s nothing clever about making unsubscribe links as difficult to find as you can legally manage, and you definitely don’t want to run afoul of spam prevention laws by removing them completely.
Make it easy to drop in and drop out; you lose nothing from letting customers who are already sick of your emails stop reading them.
6. Ignoring customers on social media
It’s so easy to start up social media accounts and fill them with nonsense, but answering questions and responding to customers can be so very difficult.
Unfortunately, the alternative is letting a bad experience or product problem go viral without any response from your company.
There’s a reason most top companies react very quickly to anything negative that pops up on their Facebook page or gets attention on Twitter.
If you react to it quickly and react to it well, it makes your company look better - often better than if the issue never happened in the first place.
Let it linger and it can become a disaster for you.
For this reason, you need to make sure you curate your social media accounts properly.
If you can’t afford to keep up with a dozen smaller social media accounts, don’t start them in the first place. This also ties into the question of keeping up to date; a listing that doesn’t exist won’t misinform audiences, at the very least.
A listing you updated once last year and haven't touched since then can send would-be customers on wild goose chases. So, don’t get started unless you intend to continue.
7. Pretending reviews don’t exist
Customers hate it when you try to pretend bad press doesn’t exist. You’ll also put them off by ignoring positive opinions; at the very least, they’ll perceive your company less warmly than if you write up a quick ‘Thanks!’ for positive reviews.
A strong, proactive response to reviews will almost always be better for your company in the long run, even when a negative review holds a kernel of truth to it.
React promptly and earnestly to negative press and it’ll weaken the impact of said press. Let it sit there and customers will get angry and start to wonder if you even intend to fix the trouble areas.
8. Not bothering with manners
Getting snippy with customers on social media, customer support calls, blog comments and email responses always goes over very well - as a viral meme that drives customers away.
Make sure everyone interacting with customers knows that they’re representing the company with any and all communication, and make sure they all know what message they’re supposed to be sending.
For most companies, that means professional, friendly and ready to help. If your company wants to send some other message, maybe even one that lacks manners, it needs to be for a very good reason and everyone needs to be on board.
Mixed messaging is the worst image of all, in many cases.
A service rep tearing into a true idiot may get a lot of smiles across the web, but ultimately you’re going to scare off and anger all the customers who identify with that idiot.
Want to learn more?
Maybe you want to avoid pissing customers off? If you would rather learn how to get customers in 2018 paying attention and saying great things about you, contact D Koder Marketing today for quotes on local SEO and other internet marketing services from our top-notch team. Make the leap to modern internet marketing with the help of an experienced, well-equipped SEO company.