Vulture Customers – Recognize and Avoid

Are your business customers ‘vultures?’ Do you have a vulture customer that is making your profits lower?

 

Are your customers 'vultures' - feeding on your business profits?

Are your customers ‘vultures’ – feeding on your business profits?

Business owners need to incorporate into their profit structure and marketing plan contingencies for ‘vulture’ customers.  What are those?  They are the clients who will blast the slightest offense across social media. These customers take advantage of online marketing coupons, but never come back to purchase again (euphemistically called ‘bottom feeders’).  These shoppers purchase an article of clothing and bring it back the next day (after they have worn it) noting it was not quite what they wanted.  They are pranksters who add an insect to their food to avoid paying the bill or ruin the establishment’s reputation.

These types of people are the equivalent of shoplifters.  They are taking advantage of a business struggling to make a profit by abusing the entrepreneur’s services.  Companies often tolerate this type of misuse to avoid conflict, as well as ‘word getting out on social media’ where the message takes on a life of it’s own.  Claims of poor service have a life of their own and may be re-posted repeatedly on social media.

Businesses want to sell a product at a competitive price and have customers return.  Businesses able to afford them, hire monitors to constantly search social media to resolve complaints and sustain reputations.  Some companies have social media flags set up to respond to customer who may still be in the establishment!

To avoid losing money consistently to client vultures, businesses need to establish simple policies, and ensure customers are familiar with the ‘rules,’ as well as ensure the online coupon loss leaders truly bring in profits from add-on services or products.

Retail stores should have signage posted about ‘final sales’ on goods such as seasonal items – bathing suits, prom dresses, party costumes. If the item is returned, only a store credit will be provided. This should be stamped on the receipt as well so the client can’t claim they didn’t see the sign.  Some stores resort to ‘all sales final’ posted.

When using the online ‘special coupon events’ only provide a service or product that the profit loss is low or at least at a break-even.  When the coupon users enter the business, there should be multiple displays, point of purchase items, and easy to buy or consume products near the door or register, where the customer can’t avoid them.

Publicizing an Internet coupon for a deeply discounted service or product is not cheap, and businesses may lose money in the short-term. The business owner should also understand – you are buying potential new clients, hopefully loyal future customers, and generating email addresses for future sales leads for marketing. Don’t let an online coupon customer leave the store without exposure to multiple services and products for sale – all near the exit and/or the cash register.

For example, a beauty spa providing a half-price pedicure should have a cart full of lotions, home-spa treatments, or more sale coupons for return visits for X% off a calendar driven special. The coupon user should not leave without being exposed to multiple other products and services.  A teeth-whitening coupon should expose the client to educational videos playing during the wait showing results of braces, regular cleaning, and showcasing payment plans to fit any budget.  A restaurant should examine the cost of the food coupon – can they afford to invest the money for half-price entrees or appetizers? Yes – if the restaurant knows they will sell a bottle of high-priced wine or at least two cocktails with the meal to break even.

When a customer crosses the ethics line, the business needs to determine is it worth the price to turn a blind eye to abuse and add the lost profits to the cost of doing business.  When providing online coupons, will the loss leader bring in customers that will only visit once?  Are the business policies posted publically to avoid the ‘returned product’ pain from customers who take advantage?  Is the business constantly on the lookout for dissatisfied clients who complain on social media?

Customers are out for a savvy price and smart shopping choices, and feel entitled and lucky to save money. It is in the business’ best interest to continually draw in new clients with the best advertising tools possible, including online coupon deals.  Businesses do need to be on the lookout for ‘customer vultures.’ Have a plan for responding quickly to complaints, have pro-active plans to prevent the possibility of ‘virtual shoplifters,’ and plan ahead to upsell to the bottom-feeders to make them new and loyal customers.

 

Dawn Boyer, Ph.D., owner of D. Boyer Consulting – provides resume writing, social media management and training, business development, and human resources consulting. Reach her at: Dawn.Boyer@DBoyerConsulting.com or http://dboyerconsulting.com.

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Vulture Customers – Recognize and Avoid

Are your business customers ‘vultures?’ Do you have a vulture customer that is making your profits lower?

 

Are your customers 'vultures' - feeding on your business profits?

Are your customers ‘vultures’ – feeding on your business profits?

Business owners need to incorporate into their profit structure and marketing plan contingencies for ‘vulture’ customers.  What are those?  They are the clients who will blast the slightest offense across social media. These customers take advantage of online marketing coupons, but never come back to purchase again (euphemistically called ‘bottom feeders’).  These shoppers purchase an article of clothing and bring it back the next day (after they have worn it) noting it was not quite what they wanted.  They are pranksters who add an insect to their food to avoid paying the bill or ruin the establishment’s reputation.

These types of people are the equivalent of shoplifters.  They are taking advantage of a business struggling to make a profit by abusing the entrepreneur’s services.  Companies often tolerate this type of misuse to avoid conflict, as well as ‘word getting out on social media’ where the message takes on a life of it’s own.  Claims of poor service have a life of their own and may be re-posted repeatedly on social media.

Businesses want to sell a product at a competitive price and have customers return.  Businesses able to afford them, hire monitors to constantly search social media to resolve complaints and sustain reputations.  Some companies have social media flags set up to respond to customer who may still be in the establishment!

To avoid losing money consistently to client vultures, businesses need to establish simple policies, and ensure customers are familiar with the ‘rules,’ as well as ensure the online coupon loss leaders truly bring in profits from add-on services or products.

Retail stores should have signage posted about ‘final sales’ on goods such as seasonal items – bathing suits, prom dresses, party costumes. If the item is returned, only a store credit will be provided. This should be stamped on the receipt as well so the client can’t claim they didn’t see the sign.  Some stores resort to ‘all sales final’ posted.

When using the online ‘special coupon events’ only provide a service or product that the profit loss is low or at least at a break-even.  When the coupon users enter the business, there should be multiple displays, point of purchase items, and easy to buy or consume products near the door or register, where the customer can’t avoid them.

Publicizing an Internet coupon for a deeply discounted service or product is not cheap, and businesses may lose money in the short-term. The business owner should also understand – you are buying potential new clients, hopefully loyal future customers, and generating email addresses for future sales leads for marketing. Don’t let an online coupon customer leave the store without exposure to multiple services and products for sale – all near the exit and/or the cash register.

For example, a beauty spa providing a half-price pedicure should have a cart full of lotions, home-spa treatments, or more sale coupons for return visits for X% off a calendar driven special. The coupon user should not leave without being exposed to multiple other products and services.  A teeth-whitening coupon should expose the client to educational videos playing during the wait showing results of braces, regular cleaning, and showcasing payment plans to fit any budget.  A restaurant should examine the cost of the food coupon – can they afford to invest the money for half-price entrees or appetizers? Yes – if the restaurant knows they will sell a bottle of high-priced wine or at least two cocktails with the meal to break even.

When a customer crosses the ethics line, the business needs to determine is it worth the price to turn a blind eye to abuse and add the lost profits to the cost of doing business.  When providing online coupons, will the loss leader bring in customers that will only visit once?  Are the business policies posted publically to avoid the ‘returned product’ pain from customers who take advantage?  Is the business constantly on the lookout for dissatisfied clients who complain on social media?

Customers are out for a savvy price and smart shopping choices, and feel entitled and lucky to save money. It is in the business’ best interest to continually draw in new clients with the best advertising tools possible, including online coupon deals.  Businesses do need to be on the lookout for ‘customer vultures.’ Have a plan for responding quickly to complaints, have pro-active plans to prevent the possibility of ‘virtual shoplifters,’ and plan ahead to upsell to the bottom-feeders to make them new and loyal customers.

 

Dawn Boyer, Ph.D., owner of D. Boyer Consulting – provides resume writing, social media management and training, business development, and human resources consulting. Reach her at: Dawn.Boyer@DBoyerConsulting.com or http://dboyerconsulting.com.

Be Sociable, Share!


Follow my podcasts

Available on iTunes and Podomatic:

Add to Google

addtomyyahoo4

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InMotion Hosting Affiliate