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Today I’m pleased to present a guest post by Jeannie Walters.

It always amazes me when organizational leaders think the small things don’t matter. They say things like, “That’s just one comment” or “We don’t pay attention to anecdotes.” It’s OK to use data and big results to guide the big decisions, but it’s not OK to ignore the little things. These small things amount to a lot. In today’s world, where 89% of us will shop with a competitor after a bad customer experience, it’s imperative not to make these mistakes.

1. Make It Complicated
Is there anything worse than wanting to purchase something and realizing it’s just too complicated to do so? It is easy to think of the online labyrinths that drive customers away with too many steps or bizarre registration requirements, but what about the offline experiences that create just as much mayhem? Not staffing appropriately, creating store layouts which are basically void of any direction, or simply not having items in-stock can drive your customers right to your online competitors.

2. Ignore Mobile
Any company that is selling anything online, I beg of you, design a mobile-friendly commerce experience. We are buying things from your competitors because you are forgetting about how we are actually living these days. Customers vanish when the mobile experience is subpar. Mobile optimized is not necessarily mobile. Those teeny weeny buttons are very hard to press when you are on a bumpy train ride. And if I see an item on the screen, I need a way to really see it up close. How about the information someone might be seeking via mobile? Phone numbers, directions, or an email link should be front and center.

3. Keep that 1990s’ Attitude
Assuming customers are loyal for loyalty’s sake is a good way to destroy the experience. Just ask Kodak or Borders. Ignoring the reality of today’s marketplace is ignoring what your customers really want. If your customers HAVE BEEN loyal, it doesn’t mean they WILL BE. Treat them as the gems they are. Don’t assume they will be there tomorrow with the status quo of today.

4. Hire Wrong
Your employees drive your customer experience. If they are unhappy, miserable, or just plain tired of their jobs, that will translate into a miserable experience for your customers. Companies like Southwest Airlines and Zappos have made it a huge part of their culture to make sure they get the right people on board. And their experiences for customers reflect that. It’s imperative to hire the right whole person, not just the person with the right resume or skillset. Skills don’t create customer loyalty. People do.

5. Assume the “It’s Not My Problem” Position

Is there anything worse than being a customer who is literally being passed around like a hot potato? Whether it’s the cashier who doesn’t know how to handle an exchange or the customer service rep who has put you on hold for the umpteenth time, it’s extremely frustrating. When there is a real issue to resolve, the person representing the company better be informed and empowered to deal with it.

Of course there are many more ways to destroy a customer experience. But companies who make these mistakes are destined to live with the consequences of losing customers.

What mistakes would you add to this list?

Jeannie Walters is the CEO and Founder of 360Connext, a Customer Experience consulting firm near Chicago. Her trademarked process, called Customer Experience Investigation, has helped large and small companies learn how to walk in their customers’ shoes and improve overall customer experience for more than 15 years. Jeannie is an editorial team member for SocialMediaClub and the Chicagoland Ambassador for the Customer Experience Professionals Association. She is also known for her presentation at TEDx. Look for her publications on Sensei Marketing, Multichannel Merchant, Duct Tape Marketing, or SpinSucks. And don’t forget to visit her blog at!