Mar 25, 201910 min read

How to Lose a Customer in 10 Days.

Kristian Borglund headshot

by Kristian Borglund

Making your customers happy is an important part of growing your e-commerce business. This is the perfect guide to what NOT to do if you want to succeed.

You might remember the classic rom-com movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” where the character Andie Anderson (played by Katie Hudson) tries to lose a potential partner (Matthew McConaughey) by doing all the typical mistakes when it comes to dating. What happens if you give the same challenge to an online store? Well, you’re about to find out in this day-by-day guide. If you want to know how to lose your customers (or, more probably, how NOT to lose them) then this is for you.

We have based our “advice” on stuff you as a merchant are already familiar with, like Show your customer how much you care, Increase trust by using guarantees, or Meet your customers’ basic needs. You just have to do them the other way around. By implementing one strategy per day for ten days, you’ll quickly have your customers heading elsewhere.

Day 1: Show your customer how much you “care”

One of the best ways to pretend that you appreciate your existing customer is to load your email autoresponder with carefully prepared messages. We’ve prepared some handy templates to help you communicate this message clearly:

“We were just thinking about you…”

“We miss you (and your money)…”

“Can we help you spend more in our online store?”

Reaching out like that creates the kind of true connection we all crave as human beings. Your customer will love the attention, especially if you tweak the email autoresponder to send out all those messages within just a few hours of each other. It’s called love bombing. Do it! Share your love today.

Day 2: Increase trust by using guarantees the right way

Lack of trust is a big problem these days. This is why a firm guarantee is so important. With your promises clearly displayed during the purchasing process, you set the foundation that lets your customer know you are not in the business of BS.

Here’s what to do:

Spell out the lawsuits that will follow if your customer even considers treating you badly in any way, such as returning the product, giving you less than a 5-star review, or daring to disturb your customer service team. Use your guarantee to invoke such a sense of fear that you won’t need to worry too much about being a target for misbehaviour or fraud.

Day 3: Make your customer want to buy soon again

In order to get your customer to buy from your online store often, don’t even think about promoting higher-priced items, or any other kinds of product that may suit the customer better, for that matter.

The less appreciation for a product after purchase, the more likely your customer will feel the need to buy a new one soon. But you needn’t worry about them coming running back to you, as long as you follow the rest of the advice in this article. Some other store will have to deal with these shopaholics instead. It’s great for everyone. Think about it. It keeps the consumption economy rolling.

A word of caution: If you decide to implement Klarna’s Pay later services in your store – where customers can defer payment while you as the merchant get paid straight away – you risk encouraging them to choose higher-priced products at the point of purchase. What if they actually appreciate and value those products, and use them for a long time? You wouldn’t want that.

Day 4: Meet the consumer’s three basic needs: to share, to be seen and to self-express

What does the explosion of social media during the last 10-15 years tell us? Yes, we human beings have a couple of hundred thousand years behind us; that’s a lot of pent-up needs to be seen, to self-express and to share via our screens.

One of the best places to let your customers fulfil those needs is in your online store’s checkout. If you are empathetic to their needs, you’ll give your customers the opportunity to share their most personal stuff with you: where they live, their full street address, their phone number, their credit/debit card number, and so on.

Make sure to devote several pages to this act of self-expression. Let your customer spend several minutes of their sacred time on this. It’s very meditative. In fact, there are unconfirmed rumours that some Hindu monks have abandoned their traditional mantra routines in favour of spending days filling out extensive order forms. They enjoy the fact that, even after they have completed the fields once, many online stores ask them to do it again the next time. The routine of filling out long payment forms is very peaceful. You should try it. It’s said that the monks get very frustrated when they stumble upon the types of payment processes that Klarna provides. Why? Because once they have used Klarna checkout – in any of the growing numbers of online stores that integrate with Klarna – they don’t need to do it the next time. Those fields are then prefilled, as well as their preferred payment option and preferred delivery option. It really hurts their feelings.

Day 5: Follow up on the purchase for a great customer experience

Securing the sale is the most important part. But once the order is in, it’s time for the second most important part:

Letting the customer know that the item is out of stock.

Everyone appreciates that kind of transparency.

To make sure they don’t overlook this update regarding their order, include a picture of the purchased item; in this case a pair of blue shoes:

Including a picture in your e-mail works as a great substitute for the real thing while they are waiting for the delivery, and adds that little extra suspense to the customer experience.

Day 6: Use social proof at every touchpoint

When the customer is trying to get in touch with you regarding their delayed order, it’s the perfect time to demonstrate social proof.

Here’s how to do it:

Don’t answer the phone. Don’t reply to their e-mails. That’s how you show how popular your business is. You are so busy that you don’t have time for those low-priority tasks. Contrary to what you may believe, this will create a “wow” reaction from your customer. You don’t want to be accessible. Think about it. Ordinary people can’t just call Richard Branson up, can they? He is far too important. Nor should your customer be able to call you.

Being unreachable brings star quality and social proof. If your customer is successful in getting hold of you, it means you are a loser. It destroys your brand and hurts your strategy to bring in new customers. Play hard to get and keep a sound distance once the customer has bought from you, as much as you possibly can.

Day 7: Become a respected brand in your market

If you want to become a well-respected brand in your market, you must act that way. Show authority on social media, for example. One thing that will gain you respect quickly is this:

You know how teachers got respect from students back in the day by rapping them across their knuckles if they dared to question anything? Of course, you can’t physically punish your customer for whining about late delivery (they are purchasing online, after all, and to hunt them down in their homes might be overdoing it).

But you should show them who is the master in the relationship. How? On social media, whenever the customer says something unfavourable about your online store, stress your authority by saying things like “You are wrong!” and “We don’t like you as a customer either”.

Day 8: Spark a little fun

Who doesn’t enjoy a good joke? Whenever you feel you’ve crossed the line with a customer – maybe being slightly too harsh when applying the advice above about gaining respect – using humour is the way to go.

Set things right by explaining to your customer:

“Come on, I was just kidding”

You can also send your customer a meme to show how much you really care about them:

You will come across as hilarious, and they will have no choice but to forgive you after you have turned their feelings of frustration and anger into a good laugh.

Day 9: Have a generous returns policy

Finally, the day arrives when your customer gets their order. The customer is excited, opens the package and sees this:

This is where your generous returns policy comes in handy: 3 long pdf pages of questions that must be answered; pages that conveniently must be printed out, filled in by hand, placed in an envelope (with no freepost address, of course), and sent off for you to open whenever you feel like it.

If high refund rates are a concern for you, use the Indian visa application procedure as a role model to add a little bit of extra friction to the process.

And the refund? Well, thanks to a 30-day-money-back guarantee, they will see the money return to their bank account after 30 days. It’s fair game to let them wait at least a month for the money considering the extra administration they add to the operations of your company. (That’s if you don’t have Klarna as payment provider of course, because then it’s our job, not your headache, to handle refunds).

Day 10: Give your customer one final surprise

One very effective way to win attention back from your customer after weeks of delays, poor product experiences and messy refunds is to give them one last little surprise.

Send this message, lean back and wait for the response:

“We are writing to let you know that some user data was compromised after your previous order as a result of unauthorized access to our systems. The following may have been compromised: your account and user information, encrypted password, and a few more things we can’t tell you about at this time”.

Well, that’s how to lose a customer in 10 days – guaranteed.

What to do instead?

If you’d prefer not to have a business like this, but instead would like high-converting, bank-level secure and administration-reducing payment solutions that give smoooth and personalised shopping experiences for your new and existing customers, learn more here.