Have you ever received something from a company that’s made you mad? Like really mad?
Let me tell you a little story – so last week I received a text message from a large phone company (who shall remain nameless) – all the message said was at the end of March my monthly data allowance was being reduced by 2GB.
Now I wasn’t very happy about this.
There was no context.
No softening of the bad news.
No explanation as to why.
To be perfectly honest – I was mad. I went hurriedly to look through the contract to find out at what point I had agreed to that (by the way – I couldn’t find anything!) and I was very ready to jump ship there and then and go to a rival company.
How are we making our customers mad?
Which really got me thinking – what is it that we do in our own businesses that on the surface may be simply a courtesy communication to a customer but could either be completely taken the wrong way or have the opposite effect?
How could we be making our customers mad?
What damage does that do to our brand?
What could the nameless telco have done instead?
Having marched into a store for this particular phone company demanding answers – the best that they could come up with was ‘oh well there’s nothing in the system so I guess when you signed up there was a deal on and now this has come to an end’.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I simply couldn’t face the pain of switching to another provider (more about switching costs vs brand loyalty another time!) this would have been another cue to leave this company.
As it happened (for those who need a conclusion to the story) I ended up upgrading the phone, getting much more data than I ever had even with ‘the deal’ but of course now paying more than I was previously! ….smart nameless telco, smart!
However, has this made me love the brand? Hell no!
Am I a little sceptical about them now and have a bit of a tainted view – you bet!
What if they had instead sent me a message along the lines of…. ‘Hey, guess what – your contract is coming to an end, when you first signed up you got some bonus data which unfortunately runs out on XXX date. But, you know what – we’ve got some great deals in store that means if you upgrade now you’ll get even more value – why not pop in and check them out?’
Would this have taken a little more work from the company? Possibly – although it’s still a very generic message and could be easily programmed into the reminder system as quickly as the first one. Does it take a slightly different attitude from one of transactional information-transfer to customer experience – yes!
Would it have made me hot-foot it straight down to the nearest store to check out all of the latest deals and choose a new phone – of course it would!
What can we change in our communications?
So how are we being the shall still remain nameless telco in our communications?
Is there anything that you’re sending out that is meant to be pure information for your customers and clients that could get them mad? What could you do instead to reframe and come at it from opportunity instead?
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"Confessions of a Small Business Owner"
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Chief Brand Strategist