How to Inconvenience Your Customers

By Don Cooper, The Sales Heretic™

As a general rule, we always want to make things convenient for our customers. In fact, it’s often one of the features we stress most in our marketing. But no matter how hard we try, eventually something is going to happen that causes our customer to be inconvenienced, whether intentionally or unintentionally. It’s the Law of Averages. Or Murphy’s Law. Or both.

But an inconvenienced customer doesn’t necessarily have to be an unhappy customer. In fact, handled correctly, they can be absolutely delighted. The difference is how you deal with the situation. Your response can turn a negative situation into a positive one. Here’s a terrific example.

One of the branches of Bank One in Boulder, Colorado had to close down its drive-thru window for several days during some construction. Despite the fact all customers were warned well in advance that this would happen and were even notified in writing about the effective dates, bank management knew people were still going to show up at the drive-thru. So rather than ignore the impending problem, Vice-President Lisa Young and her team developed a plan.

On the first day of the drive-thru closure, bank employees were stationed outside the branch to greet would-be drive-thru customers, inform them of the situation and explain their alternatives.

And give customers free coffee and donuts.

As the week went on, employees gave drive-thru attempters a wide variety of other items, including hot dogs, ice cream, t-shirts and even tickets to the Colorado Rockies baseball team.

The result? As Lisa told me, “Customers were very surprised, because it was so unexpected. It really helped to put a human face on the bank. It was also good for our employees, because they don’t normally see drive-thru customers face-to-face.”

Sooner or later, even if you don’t mean to, you’re going to inconvenience your customers. When that happens, it can be a disaster or an opportunity. What are you going to do to ensure it’s the latter rather than the former?

© Don Cooper, The Sales Heretic™. 

Don Cooper—The Sales Heretic™—helps salespeople, business owners and professionals dramatically increase their sales. He conducts seminars, trains sales and customer service teams and speaks at annual meetings, conferences and conventions. Contact Don at 303-832-4248 or visit for more articles, tips and tactics.

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Don Cooper, The Sales Heretic™ 303-832-4248 E-mail Don