7 Surefire Ways to Alienate Potential Customers

Business owners big and small live in constant fear of alienating potential customers or losing recurring revenue from existing customers. Whether you are selling consumer products for $20 a pop, or selling software to large corporations for thousands per month, no business can afford to leave customers unhappy. So, if you are a business owner and you want to lose repeat business and put off new customers, there is a tremendously effective way to do it:

Make your audience lose trust in you.

Once your target customers lose faith in you, your staff and your company, they will start looking for alternative solutions to their problems. If you reach this point, it is only a matter of time before your customers are jumping ship and looking for a better result from your competitors. So, to dive a little deeper, what are the some of the most common ways to force customers to lose trust in you?

Let’s take a look:

1. Talk about things that don’t apply to your audience in marketing materials
It is crucial that your marketing is targeted to your potential and current audience. If your message does not resonate positively with your customers, or worse, it offends them, you will put them off your business.

For example, if you are a real estate agent, categorize your email subscribers by renters and buyers.

If you send $1,000 per month apartment rentals to people interested in high-end condos, you will quickly lose their interest and their trust. Instead, send them invites to upscale open houses in their price range.

2. Avoid your customers’ calls
This one is actually quite simple to avoid. Potential customers need you to answer the phone when they call. They also need you to reply to their emails and inquiries through any other channels you may offer.

Now, this applies to times outside normal office hours too.

With more businesses offering 24/7 availability across many different industries, it is vital that your company is reachable at any time.

One great solution to this problem is to hire a virtual receptionist.

A virtual receptionist is a real person who sits in a call center and answers your phone with your personalized greeting. They can take messages, make appointments, gather customer information, provide customer service, and much more.

With a virtual receptionist, you won’t miss leads or important customer service calls, leading to increased revenue and better overall service. And of course, increased confidence in your company.

3. Don’t provide quality support when they need it
It’s not much use to the customer if you respond to them, but don’t actually help to solve their problem.

Have you ever finished an unsatisfactory call with a cable company? The representative always asks, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” If your problem wasn’t actually solved, you probably felt more aggravated and much less trustful of the company.

4. Don’t give simple answers. When servicing clients, make things as complicated as possible
If my computer crashes and I call tech support, I don’t need a lecture. I just need to know what I can do to ensure that my data is safe, and how to prevent the problem from happening again.

When dealing with customers, give them the information they need, but don’t bog them down in details. Part of the reason they use your services is that you are providing your specific expertise.

If you try to impress your potential customers with your extensive knowledge, this often has the opposite effect. Rather than talking about your credentials or education, share quantifiable results and testimonials from previous clients.

5. Try to sell extra stuff to them instead of solving their problem
Using the above example, if my hard drive crashes, I don’t want tech support to sell me a new computer. Just tell me what I need to do. If that means purchasing a new hard drive, great. Offer me a fair quote for parts and labor, and also let me know any other options I might have.

For example, “You could order a drive from Amazon and install it yourself.”

The primary goal in any customer interaction should be to solve the customer’s problem, not to sell them your product.

Don’t sell someone a $3,000 stereo if they will be happy with a $200 unit.

That customer will be more likely to send you referrals and return for additional purchases. They now trust you because you gave the best advice for their specific situation.

Most of the time, maintaining a stellar reputation is far more important than any short-term financial gain.

 6. Don’t follow up when you say you will
If you tell a customer you will call them Friday with a price estimate, make sure you call them on Friday. If you break your word on small details before the sale, they will wonder what things will be like after you’ve taken their money.

This is one of the quickest ways to lose a customer’s good faith.

Don’t be a source of frustration for your customers. Rather, you should be the person who makes their life easier.

7. Fall out of touch with customers
You cannot go long periods of time without letting your customers hear from you. This especially applies to email marketing techniques.

If your email list members haven’t heard from you in months, many of them will literally forget why they are on your list. And they will be more likely to unsubscribe or send your message to their spam folder.

What is the Solution? Offer them customer service they can’t refuse.
A key point for small and medium-sized business owners to remember is that customers don’t just leave your business. When customers lose confidence in you, they switch to one of your competitors.

In today’s business climate, it is unsustainable for any business to drop customers to competitors on a regular basis. Instead, build trust and be the company that customers flock to after getting subpar results from the others.

Customers don’t leave because of feature sets or technical specs. They leave because of how they feel about your product or service.

If you focus on building trust, you will also build a sustainable loyal customer base.


  1. very useful article. after all the customer is always right. it is so true to be simple when dealing with a customer. sales people may know what they are talking about but not everybody…