3 Ways To Annoy Your Customers

Are your customers sticking around? If not, there are things you might be doing that could be driving even your most loyal customers away. Here are the top three things that irritate customers so much that they would rather do business with your competitors than you.


“Nothing builds customer confidence and loyalty more reliably than a history of well-kept promises. Nothing will undermine your reputation faster than a string of broken commitments.” — Power To Change

Most remodeling and specialty contracting firms know that a broken promise leads to broken trust. As faithful as many are in trying to honor every commitment, it’s not easy. Running a successful construction business is challenging as contractors try to keep systems and processes working smoothly and clients happy. Sometimes, somebody drops the ball. Whether it was intentional or not, the client doesn’t care. All he knows is that the business didn’t deliver. It also communicates that he doesn’t matter, and the promise wasn’t important enough to keep.

Nobody is perfect. Even the best firms make mistakes. But, a string of them creates resentment and erodes trust and people see you as incompetent and untrustworthy.

So, if you break it, fix it. Most clients will stay loyal to you if you make it right. Commit today to honor every promise, every time. Better yet, under promise and over deliver. Here are the types of promises your clients expect you to keep.

Explicit (spoken or advertised) Promises

  • Your home will be completed by the end of the month.
  • We have the lowest prices in town.
  • Rain or shine, we will be there at 8am.
  • There are no hidden or extra fees.

Implied (unspoken) Promises

  • Your new home will be safe to live in.
  • You have required licensing.
  • You have the skills and experience required to do the job.
  • You answer your phone during business hours.

Top 3 Broken Promises Cited By Consumers

  • No hidden fees
  • On-time delivery
  • No service interruptions or problems

Top Offending Industries

  • Healthcare
  • Telecommunications
  • Automotive
  • Retail
  • Banking
  • Insurance providers


“Your company’s brand represents the value customers receive when they interact with your business. It’s a promise of sorts: When you choose to purchase from us, this is what we will deliver to you. When you break that promise—through defective products, shoddy workmanship or poor service—you may just lose the customer. And in this age of social media, you might also lose your reputation, too.” — Life Health Pro

These days, unhappy customers aren’t just voicing their complaints to a few friends, they’re blasting them on social media. How can we forget the musician who made a Youtube video slamming United Airlines for breaking his guitar. So far, it has had more than 14 million views, a huge punch in the gut to the airline’s reputation.

Though not all of your clients will go to this extreme to get even, it’s still a good reminder that customer service should be everyone’s top priority. Each person in every department has a specific role in delivering superior customer service. In marketing, it’s rewarding loyal clients and not advertising falsely; in engineering, it means making products people love; in human resources, it means hiring skilled employees that work well with people; in customer service, it means being professional, courteous, and knowledgeable when answering questions and solving problems.

This “we are all responsible” mindset is what elevates companies to the top of their game. Here are some of the most common customer complaints.

Top Customer Complaints

  • Not have calls returned
  • Kept waiting for an unreasonable amount of time
  • Rude or unhelpful staff members
  • Billing disputes
  • Shoddy work
  • False advertising and other deceptive practices
  • Defective merchandise
  • Illegal or abusive collection tactics
  • Failure to start or complete a job
  • Faulty repairs
  • Unhealthy or unsafe conditions
  • Failure to provide promised amenities
  • Failure to have required licenses


Most of your clients and customers want to hear from you. They like getting notices for deals and new services and information that is helpful and meaningful. Used the right way, email marketing can be a great tool in engaging with and delivering value to your clients. However, many firms go overboard, thinking they’ll command more attention and loyalty if they flood their clients’ inboxes. Consequently, they end up alienating some of their biggest fans.

Take Ginny, for example. She turned on her favorite brand after falling victim to their aggressive email marketing tactics. “Basically, my relationship with this company was taken from a mutual love affair to a creepy stalker level that I couldn’t wait to end. When I first signed up to get its emails, I was excited. I loved the shoes I had bought from this company [and thought receiving their emails would be a good way] to get special deals and a sneak peek on new arrivals. But then, I started getting an email every single day of the week. Monday: “BUY STUFF.” Tuesday: “BUY STUFF,” and so on. The inbox assault continued. Finally, after 6 months I had had it. Fine, company that I love, I WILL unsubscribe from ALL of your emails” (Hubspot).

Although this strategy may work for a few businesses, it doesn’t work for the majority. According to studies conducted by both Harvard Business Review and the View From The Inbox, 73% of users unsubscribe from an email list after getting too many emails.

So, how much is too much? Most people prefer to hear from businesses at the least once a month and at the most once a week. Research also shows that when certain businesses cut back on the frequency they sent emails, their unsubscribes dropped over 50%, open rates increased more than 80%, and their sales increased.

How do you keep your contracting firm from reaching that “creepy stalker” level of email marketing? Do what the pros do. Check out the infographic below for tactics that are proven to get those important emails opened and read.


It’s pretty simple. Stop tormenting your clients. If you’re not careful, you could lose the trust you worked so hard to build. Always put your customers first. Show you care without asking or expecting anything in return. Get your team involved and be genuine in your desire to help and delight people. When your clients see you are doing everything in your power to assist them, they’ll stick around, even during the few times you trip and fall. Start planting those trust seeds today!

Click Infographic to see full size