Wayfair Learns Tough Lesson: Don’t Scare Away Your Customers

Online housewares giant Wayfair makes customers and browsers uncomfortable by calling them after uncompleted sales to see if they can help.

Leave a Comment
Wayfair Learns Tough Lesson: Don’t Scare Away Your Customers

When your customer service tactics scare off your loyal customers or potential new ones, it’s probably time to rethink them.

Wayfair learned that lesson the hard way recently by adopting an “aggressive new tech-enabled sales strategy” that company officials say is designed to help customers with complicated purchases — but that may risk freaking them out.

Surely, plenty of thought had to go into the potential risk and reward in such a strategy before Wayfair rolled it out, right? What’s the best outcome with such a strategy? Probably that the customer appreciates the help with completing the purchase and buys there again.

What’s the worst outcome? Scaring off a potential customer who’s weighing a large purchase but is so put off and intimidated by the Wayfair approach that they make the same large purchase with one of their competitors.

Wayfair ABC: Always Be Closing

Obviously, there’s a rush that comes with finalizing a sale—and every salesperson can sometimes let the allure of the almighty dollar cloud their vision about the best way to make that happen. I don’t shop at Wayfair and never have, but I wonder if other companies will adopt this strategy?

I’m guessing their competitors are pretty happy they never thought of doing something so stupid that seems like it has a heck of a lot more downside than upside.

The word of mouth alone on Wayfair’s tactic could scare away customers who aren’t sure exactly what they want to buy but want to browse the company’s website to see if they’re inspired to spend their money there.

Heck, a big advantage of shopping online is the appeal of not having to deal with pushy salespeople who always tell you that sweater looks great on you, even though you know otherwise or that you definitely need those floor mats to round out your car purchase.

Supposedly, times were tough for Wayfair even before they scared the customers they still had. I can’t imagine things will get better for them if they keep up stuff like this—and don’t apologize to those who were on the other end of these overly pushy sales calls.