Skip to content

Why do companies make it so difficult for you to buy from them

November 25, 2008

As far as I’m concerned, Rule #1 for any business is, “Make it easy for the customer to buy from you.”

You’d think that after sinking in so much money, companies would want their cash inflow pipe to be as big and obstruction-free as possible. Right?

Wrong. My experience with the insurance company that wouldn’t accept my cash proved that. Whatever their excuse is, they’ve just lost a high-yield long term customer and in this day and age, that’s not a very smart thing to do.

And they’re not alone. You’ve come across companies that ask you to buy an internet access account by buying it on their website (err… you want me to buy it online when I have no online access to begin with? Hello?) Or ask you to apply for a credit card using a credit card. Or ask you for so many supporting documents (utility bill, phone bill, credit card bill, whatever bill) just to get $20 a month from you. Gee, I spend more than that on soda pop. Or sing and dance about their product and then forget to tell you where to buy it.

You have to wonder what were these guys thinking.

When companies get big, they often turn their backs on simplicity. They forget that the more barriers they put oldbankcounter1between them and their customer, the worse business gets. I’m surprised to learn of a local bank that still places a thick laminated glass wall at their counters to separate their tellers from their customers, money changer style. Imagine a poor old lady with a bad back having to bend her body to transact through a small hole in the glass. Very last-decade. The world has moved on to open counter designs, gone from mindshare to heartshare, but some banks are still afraid of the customer. How do you think their business is doing?

Giving and receiving money is a critical part of customer experience. Its the climax point of all business transactions. Throw too many ifs and buts into the process and you can kiss the customer goodbye, probably forever.

Pic source:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2008 9:17 am

    Brisk business sometimes give, perhaps, a haughty edge to businessmen. Or maybe they can’t imagine forgoing a smaller profit for long term gains.

    I used to frequent one local electrical goods supplier and when I found an item I wanted, they insisted on charging additional 2% for credit card payment. My cash in hand couldn’t cover the cost. I can’t imagine carrying a wad of notes in my wallet when I’m just shopping for an item and not sure if I’m buying it yet. Needless to say, when I found other shops which have all paying options open I refused to go back to the former.

    As in all things, those who fail to change get left behind.

    I guess if there was a measure of desperation, its in how many ways these businesses are willing to take your money. Looks like your electrical goods shop wasn’t desperate enough. When these people do go out of business, its interesting to hear them blame the economy etc, anything but themselves.

  2. November 25, 2008 9:44 am

    One of the things I’ve noticed in recent years is how the banks coped with the ‘change of trend’. My dad used to work in the bank for more than 30 years and bankers used to be the ‘elites’ in the business world. People have to look for them, and not the other way round.

    Things hv changed, but some ppl don’t. My dad forced his subordinates to change their mindset, but some refused and were forced to go/be penalized. Because my dad knows that it will not help if you just stick to the old mindset. You need to GO OUT and approach people! That’s how you get business deals.

    Sadly, what my dad realized 10 years ago….still seem to be clueless to many business people of today.

    or maybe they’re just being overly protective of their own businesses? the Kia-si attitude.

    Banks are measured by their stability so they are conservative by nature – in their lending practice and treasury functions. But to play in retail banking, they are subject to the same lifestyle factors of other retail businesses. They have to compete, rebrand, market. Most banks get it but some clearly don’t. So they continue to deal with the world like they did in the 60’s – through a hole behind a glass wall. That does nothing to attract young new depositors and when the old depositors die off, these banks will languish and be bought off.

    I’ve never worked in a bank but I can imagine what your dad must have gone through.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: