Are You Customer-Averse?


Being customer averse

We all know the story of how Comcast went from customer-averse to customer-friendly. It started online with a person, and it’s making its way to the rest of the organization. You will agree with me that Comcast went from this episode, to this action, to this thinking.

They went from customer-averse, to customer-friendly. It didn’t happen overnight, still it did. Competition helps, too, so we keep our fingers crossed on any one company getting too big to care.

Businesses continue to look for more ways to get new business either from new or current customers — usually both, in this order. Shiny marketing mailings don’t do the job the way they used to anymore.

Customers see through those, and know that many companies take them for granted, losing precious word of mouth recommendations in the process. Companies that don’t extend customers the offers, courtesy, and service they created an expectation for in the course of marketing, will continue to see diminishing returns.

Worse, we have learned to notice — and care — that those offers are given freely to prospective customers. I’ve heard of people switching long distance telecom company from month to month to play the offer game. Social media will not cure the problem, if all you’ve got is message push — now on Twitter, Facebook, or the next new tool.

Add to it outsourcing even the last mile, that of the human contact, and these behaviors seem to indicate that companies are customer-averse.

5 Characteristics of a customer-averse company

(1.) There is no human to answer the phone — not the regular handset appliance, nor the social phone

(2.) When someone answers either phone, they’re just buying time, not giving you answers

(3.) Offers and deals are extended always and only to prospective customers. Once you’re in, you’re out

(4.) Loyalty is a one-way concept when it comes to shifting customers around services and products

(5.) When the company connects with customers, it has ulterior motives, never just to “thank you”

You see how these behaviors are not ideal or prudent. Today, customers have more options than all the tricks you may have developed to avoid direct contact.

The companies that get more business are those where people energize the contact, lean into the conversation, make the experience human, find new ways to communicate with customers where they are, and solve a challenge — they have or take license to impress. Remarkable is easy to achieve when the bar is still set so low.

***

Which companies impress you? Why? Name them here, and tell your story. I’ll find a way to bring them to the conversation in the coming weeks.

© 2006-2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.

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