Badgering Your Customers is Not Good for Business

In the last month, I’ve received no less than 15 phone calls from the telemarketing arm of a publication I subscribe to. It’s gotten to the point where I recognize the phone number and ignore all of the calls from these people.

I understand the need to remind people to renew their subscriptions, but in that case one or two phone calls and a voice mail is more than sufficient. The interesting thing is I was wavering on whether or not to renew this particular publication, and the ongoing badgering from their sales people is not helping their cause at all. There is absolutely nothing they can say to me on the phone that is going to influence me positively and their ongoing consistent calling makes me want to give the whole thing up just to get rid of them permanently.

If that’s not bad enough, several years ago I decided not to renew my membership in a professional organization for many reasons. Again, I got emails and phone calls asking me to renew and I told them I wasn’t interested. Then I got on the “Lost member contact” list, and I started to get calls from their board members to interview me about why I had chosen not to renew.

I really had no interest in this–all I wanted to do was have them go away quietly, but this was not meant to be. When I got a personal message from the president of the national association insisting that he had to talk to me to convince me why I was making a mistake in not renewing, I’d had enough. I told the local membership person that if all contact from the organization didn’t cease and desist immediately (this had gone on for several months), I’d consider it harassment and take legal steps. That did the trick.

We all want to keep our customers, and we want to find out why customers defect. That makes sense. But badgering people who obviously are not interested in responding, doesn’t. For one thing, it makes me wonder if the organization in question is so desperate they can’t afford to lose a single subscriber or member. For another, my behavior tells you what you want to know. Asking the same question again except slower and louder doesn’t make me any more responsive. The problem is not that I didn’t hear you–it’s that I’ve chosen not to respond.

Even worse, the bad experience I’ve had with these two organizations will stick with me for a long time–much longer than they’d want, if they thought about it. And I’ll warn others about them as well.

Is that the way you want your customers to think about you? Think about this from the customer’s perspective. No badgering allowed.

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2 Responses to Badgering Your Customers is Not Good for Business

  1. You hit the nail right on the head. My phone numbers are on the national “do not call” list because I HATE to get phone solicitations. I hate it so much that I generally tell anyone who calls me that I make a personal policy never to respond to anyone who asks for money – for ANY reason – over the phone. But I get many, repeated calls from Bank of America. I am their customer and have been for many years, and generally have had a good experience with them. And because I’m their customer, they are not barred from calling me, despite my number being on the do not call list. They do not respond to my requests that they do not call me – they call on Saturdays, during dinner, when I have company. And I’m so annoyed with this that each time they call me again, I start thinking about moving my account somewhere else just to avoid the damn calls!

  2. Lisa Strand says:

    Very old-school in nature with the intense follow-up; I think enough people cave into the pressure that it’s still worthwhile for businesses and charities (sad but true).
    I have run into some great exceptions to this rule lately though. Just the other day a gentleman came to my home to solicit donations for a local group home; I explained that I do all my donating online, and referred him to a Website that allows organizations to collect donations online. Instead of what I expected (a song & dance about how they really need $$ now), he graciously thanked me and followed up via email (which I did share with him). Kudos to him and his organization (!

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