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10 sure ways to kill customer loyalty10 sure ways to kill customer loyalty

Are you tired of customers interrupting your day with pesky questions and meaningless chit-chat? Is their ceaseless enthusiasm for training and their overly flattering comments about your aircraft driving you absolutely crazy? Well are they?

Here are 10 great ideas for getting rid of these pests, without having to come right out and tell them to flake off.

  1. Forget to use their first names when you see them. Better yet, call them by the wrong name. That’ll really get ’em.
  2. Ignore them when they walk in the door. Forget that five-second rule about greeting customers. It only encourages them.
  3. Sneak in a charge here and there that they don’t expect. Read the Hobbs meter so that in-between readings always favor you. Don’t let ’em get away with anything.
  4. Call them on the telephone and tell them they left some trash in the airplane. Make it clear that littering the airplanes is unacceptable. Fine them $10 for your trouble in cleaning it up.
  5. Change your rates up and down with gas prices. Keep them guessing what their true charges will be.
  6. Forget to tell them their airplane reservation was canceled because of maintenance issues. Never apologize.
  7. Put them with several different instructors during their training, and make sure all your CFIs use a different syllabus.
  8. Have “the conversation” with them for being late to a lesson or flight reservation, and tell them next time there will be a fine.
  9. Ignore phone messages for at least three days, then call them back when you’re in your most frustrated mood.
  10. Remind them often how lucky they are that you’re there for them.

Customers need to understand that they are there to make you money. After all, it costs a lot to run a business like yours, and money isn’t exactly growing on trees these days. You just don’t have time for their trivial concerns, and they have to learn to respect your time. Follow the advice above and you’re virtually assured of getting your way, and of having plenty of time for the real work of your business, such as making entries into Quickbooks or restocking the toilet paper in the men’s room. They just don’t get it and probably never will.

Oh well, their loss.

William Woodbury is a flight instructor and freelance writer in Southern California.

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