How to Lose Customers, Subscribers and Girlfriends

In his post, The world’s worst toaster, Seth Godin illustrates how technology can complicate the uncomplicated. In addition to his toaster example, he explained how it took 11 clicks to make a $6 payment to eBay. Recently, I wrote about my frustrating experience with an email subscription process. Technology, in and of itself, doesn’t magically make things more efficient. It can. But not by default. Efficiency requires some human thought behind the machine. It requires removing unnecessary steps in the process of fulfilling specific needs.


Making things more complicated than they need to be is a good way to lose business. Here are 11 more ways to lose customers, subscribers and girlfriends:

  1. Make them work hard to get what they want.
  2. Don’t meet their needs.
  3. Regularly make them wait.
  4. Waste their time.
  5. Don’t listen to them.
  6. Break promises.
  7. Don’t take their phone calls.
  8. Don’t call them back
  9. Never apologize.
  10. Talk about yourself too much.
  11. Don’t show appreciation.

Technology has certainly made many things in life easier. I didn’t have to send a pony to your house to deliver this post on parchment. Technology rocks. But systems are designed by people, and those systems can be designed to be easy or hard for users. The choice is yours.

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