Customer Service Rant Revisited

This is a follow up to my last post: Customer Service Rant

DEFINE IRONY: When after completely botching the customer experience, Time Warner Cable sends you a mailer asking you to come back at a 30% reduction in price. This is a perfect example of how not to treat customers. Why is it that companies come to their senses only after you’ve ceased to do business with them?

What is it that makes it ok to not value a customer relationship until its lost?

Acquiring a customer is 10 times more costly than simply retaining a customer. And as proof, it will take more than one lousy mailer to make me come back, even at the huge discount they are offering me (which by the way they should have offered in the first place – as you can read in the previous blog, I left in large part because of the gradual but significant creep in my monthly subscription fee).

Rather than make this a total rant…some advice for marketers and service providers the world over:

1) Keeping customers happy is ALWAYS easier than trying to win them back after decidedly not making them happy.

See “United Breaks Guitars” as a GREAT example. After decidely failing to reimburse a customer for damage to a beautiful Taylor guitar, country artist composes and posts song to Youtube. With over 5 million views it has cost United Airlines an estimated $180 million in market value.

2) Asking a customer to return just a month after you’ve explicitly devalued that customer relationship is insulting. I don’t think I really need to further explain this point. We all know the feeling.

3) If you’re going to woo a customer back, don’t do it with a mailer that cost you $1.

The most valuable customer relationship managnent lesson I’ve ever learned… The best way to overcome disappointing a customer, is to go back and ask for more. Face to face, one on one, whatever it is that makes the most economic sense.  In this case, a phone call thus making it a TWO-WAY conversation would have been better. I probably would have told TWC to you-know-what, but that would have been the first (of many) steps to rebuild a broken relationship.

I’m not going to put out a youtube video about TWC, but the very fact that I’m writing this blog is proof that in today’s digital age, a singular customer experience has the ability to dramatically impact (Positively or Negatively) an image beyond just that one touch point.


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