Nine Ways To Lose Your Customer (Another Real Life Case Study)

I’ve never needed glasses before, but age creeps up on us all, and I have had cause this week to investigate the fascinating world of opticians and eye testing.

With several hundred potential suppliers in the area to choose from, inevitably, it became another one of my customer service experiments… 

Here’s how I whittled ‘a few hundred’ (not sure of exact optician population in the area) down to one ‘lucky’ supplier, in nine steps, and some of the shocking lessons for all of us working in industries that require customer focus (which is… all of us).

My starting point was a search into the online business directory, revealing 108 potential suppliers. From there…

Qualification Test

Reasons Rejected

No. of Survivors

1., search for local opticians.

(Unknown) x Not listed on


2. Quick read through of services, and checking the ‘personality’ of the business …my kind of optician.

28 x No detail in the listing, or just bare minimum detail.


3. Click through to individual optician website.

13 x No website, or no link to site in their listing.


4. Scan of the site, check again for ‘my kind of optician’.

42 x Didn’t like the website look – Out of date, lack of useful content, links not working..


5. Sent email link or contact form.

10 x Contact forms or email links difficult to find, or forms asking for far too much information from a simple web enquiry.


6. Responses back.

5 x Didn’t respond.


7. Waiting for responses.

3 x Didn’t respond within 1 week.


8. What did they come back with?

3 x Gave vague or generic responses – e.g. not acknowledging my original questions.


9. Telephoned for appt.

3 x Didn’t answer phone, couldn’t see me for over a week, or just seemed disinterested.


I don’t know about you but I find this really horrifying! These are very basic considerations – there’s no excuse for not having a website, or failing to respond to email enquiries or telephone calls.

This experience also reminds us just how fragile the sales funnel can be – Just one ‘failure’ drops you out of the running altogether. In this real life case study, that was the case with over 99% of the businesses tested; 107 local businesses fell out of consideration due to basic failures in their accessibility and visibility.

It’s worth noting also that the suppliers will have only become aware of this potential purchase at stage 5 of 9 – How many sales are you losing without even knowing about it?

Lessons Arising:

  • Be visible and accessible (…for more on this theme see the ‘Being Heard Amidst The Competitive Forest‘ series).
  • Take time to show an interest in your customers.
  • Train your staff to do the same.
  • Make sure your website is working, and interesting and contains up to date information and contact points.
  • Ditto for your directory listings (of which you should have as many as you can find).
  • Check regularly for incoming website enquiry emails. Make sure your technology set up feeds these through to you in a timely manner.
  • Pick up the phone, and smile!

Do you have any more to add to the list?

And by the way, I haven’t visited the store yet – I wonder if it will be clean, welcoming, easy to park…..

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