7 Ways Your Business is Annoying Potential Customers

By Ashley Orndorff, aka Marketing Geek smartphone on a table with social media icons above it

You may have a ton of ways to connect and communicate with potential customers, but you don’t want to go overboard and drive them away. There’s too much competition and they’ll just go somewhere else if you annoy them. Here are a few ways your business is annoying potential customers and, potentially, driving them away:

1. Blasting Them on Multiple Channels Right Away

It’s true that people who contact you online usually expect a fast response. However, just because they may be online and available on multiple channels does not mean you need to reach out to them right away on all of them.

Contacting someone through email, calling them, sending them a Facebook message, inviting them to connect on LinkedIn, and more all at once is overwhelming, especially as a first contact. That is often way too much, too soon, and makes your business come across like a desperate stalker.

You can use multiple channels to connect with a potential customer and build that relationship with them. But, this is something that happens over time as you continue to build trust and add value with your interactions.

Start off by communicating with the customer on the channel they initiated contact – this tells you their initial communication preference. From there, other channels will often be added on as you talk to a potential customer and learn more about their needs and communication preferences.

2. Stalking Them With Phone Calls

Unless a potential customer called you and left a voicemail with their number where you can call them back, think carefully about whether you actually need to call them. This depends a lot on your target market and how they prefer to communicate. Some people appreciate the personal touch of a phone call while others try to avoid it as much as possible.

But, with online forms, chats, email, and more, many people are preferring to communicate this way instead of over the phone, especially at first. A phone call to touch base is usually fine. The problem arises when the phone calls start coming multiple times a week, every day, or even multiple times a day! No one likes to be barraged by phone calls.

When this happens, you’re not building trust or connecting with a potential customer – you’re just annoying them. Badgering people is not a good way to start building a meaningful business connection.

3. Sending Too Many Emails

Although emails tend to be less intrusive than phone calls, sending too many is still annoying and can drive away potential customers. It’s one of the major email marketing mistakes to avoid and it’s also something that will annoy potential customers. This includes personally written emails for follow-up and also autoresponder series.

People’s inboxes are often overflowing, so sending too many emails is a quick way to give potential customers a negative perception of your brand. They might unsubscribe, mark your email as spam, delete it, or ignore it and they may also write your business off in the process.

4. Passing Leads Around Within the Office

It’s bad enough when one representative annoys a potential customer. But, it does not help to “pass” that lead off to another representative so they can annoy them too. All of your representatives are associated with your business, so the experiences they provide reflect back on your brand.

It doesn’t matter how much time has passed. If someone has expressed disinterest or just has not converted into a customer yet, having someone else in your business contact them using the same annoying tactics as the first outreach is not going to help. It doesn’t provide value or build trust – it just breeds more frustration and creates yet another negative experience with your brand.

5. Not Checking for Existing Notes in Your CRM

Your business should be using some sort of CRM (contact relationship management) system to keep track of leads and communications with them. Not only can a system like this help you improve your response time for better customer service, but it can also help you build better relationships with potential customers, and avoid wasting your time by annoying people who aren’t interested.

This is particularly useful if, at some point, other people in your company will need to communicate with them. If you have had multiple conversations with a potential customer, whoever is about to communicate with them again should reference those existing notes. This allows you to continue to build on what has already been built. Failing to reference existing notes often means repetitive conversations and potential customers getting annoyed with you.

6. Focusing on a Script and Not Listening

Scripts can be useful for learning the ins and outs of a business’s products, services, approach, communication style, etc. However, communicating with potential customers is not a movie or a play. You’re dealing with real people and trying to build real connections – following a script is limiting, feels fake, and is often frustrating for the other person involved.

You should have some main points that you want to bring up and cover with a potential customer. But, this is a conversation, not a presentation. You should be asking questions and actually listening to what a potential customer is saying.

You shouldn’t be waiting to talk or coming up with rebuttals for what you think someone is saying instead of listening to what they are actually saying. It’s also important to learn how to take a hint. You can think someone is the perfect fit for your business’s product or service all you want, but if they are not interested, then they are not a good fit for your business.

Ignoring their “no” and being pushy is just a great way to make sure they’ll leave with a very negative view of your brand that they won’t mind sharing with everyone else. It may not happen frequently, but it does put your business at risk for an online reputation management problem.

7. Offering a Poor Website Experience

A poor website experience is one of the top ways businesses annoy their customers. Confusing navigation, slow load times, irrelevant content, not being mobile-friendly, and more are all web design mistakes that annoy your customers and could drive them to your competitors. Other annoying things on your website could be things like hiding contact information, having forms with too many fields, especially too many required fields, making the forms hard to get to, etc.

When a potential customer visits your website, it should offer them a great experience, make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for, and make it even easier for them to contact you if they want to. If your website isn’t doing these things, it’s likely annoying your customers and doing your business a disservice. These are also definite signs it’s time for a website design.

Although customer retention is important, your business still needs an influx of new customers to continue to thrive and grow. This means you need to communicate with potential customers. But, it’s a balance.

These are just a few ways your business is annoying potential customers. And, if you’re doing any of them, it may be time to re-evaluate your approach. You want to build positive touchpoints with potential customers that mean they’ll choose your business in the end without annoying them and driving them to your competitors.

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