As I look through various publications and websites I continually see articles about the importance of companies being customer-centric, or that the customer is the center of the universe, or that your company needs to funnel activities towards customer needs. While I find these articles interesting, I’m still amazed to find that many companies simply don’t get it.
Look at companies like Nordstrom or Amazon that focus a tremendous amount of effort on providing excellent customer service. They treat me well and I become a regular customer. As everyone knows repeat customers cost much less than having to go out and find new customers. There are many thoughts behind ways to build customer loyalty or to strengthen customer loyalty, but most of these should really be obvious—use common sense and your customer will usually be happy.
Here’s an example of two companies that just don’t get it.
Last week I had an issue between my bank and my mortgage company regarding an error with my mortgage payment. The long-and-short of it is that I was charged a $35 fee (twice!) for something that wasn’t my fault, yet neither institution would refund me the charge. In the grand scheme of things, $70 is nothing for these large financial institutions, but to me it’s a lot of money. More to the point is the principle of the issue—both companies pointed the finger at the other, neither company was willing to step up and admit error, and both companies now have an unhappy customer. It just goes to show you that many companies still don’t understand how to be customer-centric.
From a marketing or PR perspective, I guess these companies don’t care about annoying a single customer. But with the growth of social media, I can get my message out to the masses much easier than ever before. If either of these companies was smart, they’d realize that refunding me the money would go a long way to securing a happy customer.
It reinforces my thinking that customer service, marketing and PR folks need to keep a finger on the pulse of the social media comments about their company, 24×7, so they can gauge sentiment and react quickly as needed. Better yet, be preventative up front by offering amazing customer service at all times.
Do you have examples like this where you’ve taken to social media channels to let the masses know how you were treated?
Author: Rob Goodman
Rob Goodman is a communications professional with more than 27 years of experience in public relations, marketing and content creation.