If you have to use pressure tactics, ridiculous rebates, and the like to make a sale, it’s time to stop and consider what you’re doing.
Making a sale that isn’t good for your customer isn’t good for your company either.
American Express is learning this lesson the hard way after engaging in pressure tactics that led to small business owners to end up with expensive credit cards that didn’t fit their needs.
The missteps, according to a Wall Street Journal article (paywall), occurred when the company was reeling in the wake of its loss of the important Costco account, which had for years provided Amex with a conduit to small business customers. (I want to note that according to Amex’s analysis, these bad actors represented a very small and isolated group.)
That’s not so surprising. It’s in the face of such stressors that many of us are prone to making such mistakes. When things aren’t going well we get the temptation to juice our numbers, convince customers to buy products, services, and add-ons that they don’t need. Eventually–and often much more quickly than “eventually”–this leads to feelings of betrayal from your customers as well as your customer service and support employees, who may find themselves (as they did at Amex) facing an open rebellion from misled customers.
This isn’t a lesson just for salespeople. It’s a lesson as well for leaders, from sales managers all the way up to those in the C-suite, who need to avoid rewarding those in the organization who make momentary gains at the expense of everyone working downstream.
Enough said. Let’s get back to work, and make sure it’s real work, rather than the pursuit of illusory gains that will ultimately become just churn.
Micah Solomon is a customer service and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and trainer. He also works as a content creator and ghostwriter and as a customer service expert witness. Micah was recently named “the World’s #1 Customer Service Turnaround Expert” by Inc. Magazine. Email Micah directly, visit his website, or check out Micah’s new bestseller: Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away) (HarperCollins Leadership).