Have you ever been frustrated because doing business with a certain company was harder than you thought it should be? Have you thought about your own organization the same way? It may be difficult to do business with you, and you may not even realize it.
Recently I was trying to buy some gift cards to one of my favorite restaurants. The idea crossed my mind while they were closed so I went online to see if I could do it on their website. First I was excited to see that they had a promotion for every $100 spent, you would get a $10 bonus gift card. I thought I could just select a quantity with $100 each on them.
Unfortunately, this was not the case.
Quickly I became frustrated because the only way I could figure out to do it was to put in each individual recipient and then they would receive an email with a gift certificate. I had no desire to spend the time to put in the details for all the people I wanted to send the gift card to. So I waited until the next morning and called the restaurant.
Imagine my shock when I found out they did not want to help me!
The person who answered the phone told me that they preferred to have me go online to buy the gift cards. And if I came in they would not give me the extra $10 bonus.
So I decided not to buy gift cards from this restaurant. The experience really made me wonder if others had the same frustration, so I asked around. I found dozens of people with a similar experience - not all from the same restaurant - however the same frustration overall. I wonder if these restaurants have any idea of how much money they have lost by making it hard for people to do business with them.
It would be nice if it was only these isolated incidents with restaurants, however it is not. While I was asking around I found people who shared hundreds of experiences where they choose not to do business with a certain company because it was harder than it needed to be.
The stories that were shared with me were amazing - the lost opportunities for the businesses were countless. I heard things that ranged from websites that were too complicated, to overly long hold times on the phone, to being asked to call back and talk to someone else, to not being able to find contact info, to having employees that did not know anything, to not taking certain credit cards, just to name a few.
Likely you can relate to this as a consumer - because you can think of a time you chose not to do business with a company or person because they made it harder than you thought it needed to be. However, when was the last time you spent time and energy to understand what prospective clients think of doing business with your organization and you?
If you have not done this recently it could be the key to figuring out some of the simplest and easiest ways to grow your own business through superior customer service. If we make it hard for others to do business with us, they will find another company who makes it easier for them.