Have you ever thought that making your customers wait in a queue or giving them senseless explanations when they complain can make them switch from your company? Customers prefer an organization that values their needs and serves them promptly and proactively. Many businesses are pushing away their customers without realizing it. It doesn’t matter if you have been in the industry for decades, even the most loyal customers can leave if they feel ignored, unhappy or annoyed. Taking the customers for granted is one of the worst business practices. Take a look at the following commonly committed business mistakes and if you are making even one of them, you are making your most loyal customers walk away:

Making Customers Wait for an Annoying Time Period

Statistics reveal that nearly 35% of American customers stopped purchasing from a brand due to long customer service wait time. One of the most common blunders that businesses make is to keep their customers waiting for billing, addressing a complaint or answering a query. Sometimes, the wait exceeds customers’ patience level and results in unpleasant situations where a customer yells at a service rep or lashes out his/her anger on social media. So if you want to retain customers, do not make them wait. Devise an effective and efficient strategy to quickly serve your customers, train your employees and use all available resources to reduce customer service wait time to the minimum.

Not Offering Consistent Quality Service

Customers feel betrayed if you fail to keep the quality of your service consistent. For example, if you are running a restaurant and your customers love the delicious steaks you serve in 20 minutes, the ambiance and politeness of your staff; while after a few months, the steaks you are serving take an hour of preparation and are not as great as they used to be, your cutlery is stained and your staff doesn’t warmly greet the guests, do you think your customers will give you another chance? Service consistency matters to customers and if a business fails to keep up the quality of its service, it is likely to lose customers. This has happened to many thriving businesses, so if you are making this blunder, rectify it and set things right to stop customers from leaving your brand.

Being Secretive

Another common business blunder is being secretive towards your customers, hiding things from them when there is a service issue and not offering them required and accurate information regarding a query/complaint. If customers perceive that a brand is being disloyal to them, they will not bother purchasing from it again. So never lie to your customers, do not hide things from them, instead own your mistake, apologize and do everything possible to satisfy them. If for example, you have displayed your products on your Facebook page and people are asking about the price range, instead of saying “it is not that much”, “you will know about it soon”, give them the real price range or ask them to visit your store. Do not confuse the customers or act secretive, it is likely to create a bad impression about your brand and will push away the customers.

Aggressive Marketing and Advertising

According to Consumer Reports Survey, “64% of people walked out of a retail store because of a pushy salesperson.” While for businesses, it is vital to market and advertise their products, you need to make sure that you are not overdoing it. Consistently sending promotional texts, e-mails and repeatedly making telemarketing calls to customers would annoy them to the level that they would think about never buying from you again. Do not force your customers to buy from you, instead be friendly towards them and offer them their comfort zone and space to take a buying decision.

Being Rigid with Rules and Policies

If you have a customer who wants an exchange/refund for a product that he/she just picked and later realized that there was no need for it and you tell him/her that “sorry it is not in the company rules to exchange/refund a product” along with the citations from your rulebook, you are likely to lose many customers. A business that puts in no extra effort to please its customers will not succeed in earning customer loyalty. So bend your rules and policies for your customers and facilitate them as much as you can. Make your policies simple and flexible enough to accommodate your customers’ claims, requests and issues.

Making it Difficult for Customers to Contact You

If you are one of those businesses that customers feel a hassle to communicate with, you are likely to lose a number of clients. Tech savvy customers of today want interactive communication and if their questions or concerns are not answered on phone, e-mail or social media in a prompt manner you are likely to not hear from them again. Make yourself easily accessible to customers, communicate actively and stay connected with them if you want a lasting and strong relationship with them. Do not use multiple communication channels if you cannot manage them instead pick up one or two and utilize them well.