Skip to main content

Customers dump Companies for Poor Service? Yeah, right!

Customers dump Companies due to bad experiences. Source: Rightnow Customer Experience Report
Customer experience and customer experience management is all about technology and its right use. This is what many of the articles that one could read on various platforms can make one think.
Just that it isn’t.
I guess I contributed my share to this misconception, too. My excuse is that I am a techie by trade and at heart.
Sure, technology is a part of delivering a good customer experience but there is much more to it. Technology enables the digital presence of a business and helps its employees delivering better experiences – if available and used.
But delivering a good customer experience first and foremost involves people, then policy and process. Technology is the last priority contributing, it is an enabler, a means to an end – not the end itself.
On the other hand there are reports over reports saying that customers stop doing business with a company after bad experiences, sometimes even after a single bad experience, e.g. shocking 89 per cent according the 2011 Rightnow Customer Experience Report, or 62 per cent according to the 2015 Parature Global Customer Service Report. The 2016 Institute of Customer Service UK Customer Satisfaction Index finds that most UK customers want a balance of price and service, given there is a minimum service level. And the list goes on and on.
While all these statistics likely have some grain of truth there are also numerous examples of poor customer experience not having a detrimental impact on a company. This is probably in part due to who asked the question, how the question was asked; this often relates to who paid for the survey.
Astonishingly, there are plenty of incidents where companies get away with poor customer service or a poor attitude to customer experiences. This stretches across industries and it indicates that customers do not routinely dump a company because of a single poor experience.
Let me give you some examples out of the automobile, telco, banking, and airline industries – with different outcomes.

A Carmaker’s Royal Screw-up

VW. By now everyone has heard of their ‘Dieselgate’, so there is no need to go into the ‘what happened’ part of the story. There is no doubt that in case of a car a lot of the experience lies in driving it and the car’s quality, but there is also some in the purchasing process. And there is a brand promise. Many customers bought their diesel VW because of the promise of low emissions. They didn’t what they bargained for. Now, while in the US customers get a sizable refund VW still deems it right to reject all claims of wrongdoing in Europe. Legally, they may even be right, but this is beside the point. The point is that VW apparently prefers a policy of covering up and waiting out to the, admittedly more difficult and probably expensive, one of offensively and credibly driving clean engines.
Still, VW has become the biggest car manufacturer in 2016 with a year-over-year growth of almost 4 percent.

Another Banking Tale

My wife and I share a credit card account that is linked to our airline loyalty membership. This comes pretty handy. Now the airline points that are calculated from the card usage go against one account – mine, because I used to fly more. This changed, so we ventured to linking the cards to my wife’s account.
Impossible.
The only way out would be going for new cards, with new card numbers and all the associated hassles of changing card numbers that we stored as method of payment at some vendors.
The reason? The bank’s company policy. Asked what the purpose of the policy is there was no reply …
We didn’t change cards.

Telcos are always good for a Custserv Story

On Sunday, January 29, 2017, Spark New Zealand suffered a major mobile and broadband outage. Despite being reported as fixed by the company it essentially lasted the rest of the day, services being stable again only in the late afternoon. Of course people asked for some compensation for services that weren’t delivered – on Facebook and Twitter, and likely also on the phone. I myself asked on Twitter with no reply on Monday (and till now, for what it is worth).
https://twitter.com/twieberneit/status/825808889236987904
On Facebook people got told that this is a technology issue, and that Spark apologizes for inconveniences, but that technology is not fully reliable and hence there is no need for any compensation. Just to be sure: There are also business customers, who were affected.
I am still with Spark as a provider. And I doubt that they received many cancellations.

The Joy of Flying

No list on poor experiences can do without an airline tale. This one is about Australian budget carrier JetStar. JetStar has a policy of closing the check-in counters half an hour before departure. Closing means exactly that – even if personnel happens to be still at the counter – there is no more check in, even for passengers without checked luggage. They also have a way of sending the boarding pass via text message. Just that this doesn’t always work – and if it doesn’t work there is no way of resending it. Imagine an early morning flight where every minute of sleep counts. On this one I had a fiery discussion with their call center with the result: Be early …
Of course the plane was late, too. After all they have a reputation for being late.
I didn’t fly JetStar since.

The Moral of the Story

As these examples indicate, customers by no means are abandoning brands in flocks because of poor experiences, let alone a single one. Add the regularly followed strategy to offer new customers better prices than existing ones and to not reduce their fees correspondingly.
Many products and services are far too sticky for just moving on – it is too much hassle.

So, as a bottom line, companies will continue to follow strategies that are good for them and not for their customers, unless customers follow through with the threat that is implied in reports like the ones I mentioned above.

Last Year's Top 5 Popular Posts

A Love Affair - Nimble Smart Contacts for Outlook Mobile

Social Selling pioneer Nimble has an awesome start into 2017. First it got number 1 in CRM satisfaction by G2Crowd earlier in January, then friend and CRM godfather Paul Greenberg named Nimble a winner of the 2017 CRM Watchlist awards, and now Nimble announces the Smart Contacts add-in for Outlook, a deep integration into Outlook for iOS, with an integration into Outlook for Android coming soon. The Nimble Smart Contacts add-in brings the power of Nimble’s view on contacts to Outlook for mobile users, after the widget and Outlook add-on already offered this functionality for the web- and Outlook clients. The add-on follows the philosophy that for most companies the e-mail account is still their CRM system; given this, this is a straightforward enhancement. Nimble acknowledges that there are two main email systems used in businesses: Gmail and Office365, and now fully supports them both. This integration delivers the profiling data that the Nimble back end gathers practically at any plac…

Mass Distraction - The Case for a Consolidated Marketing Platform

These days, customer experiences increasingly need to be delivered with the help of technology. This does not mean that direct interactions and people are no more important in marketing, sales, or service; on the contrary, but that an increasing number of customers is using the web, social media, chat, or an app to identify suitable products or services or to resolve an issue, when needed. The Customer Executive Board found that 57 per cent of the buying process is already completed before sales personnel get engaged. A Cisco retail study confirms the American Express findings and states that around 60 per cent of all in-store purchases start their journey electronically. The American Express Global Barometer claims that 60 per cent of all customers abandoned a purchase because of poor service experiences. Over the past 20 or so years the way products and services get sold and customer service as well as marketing get delivered to customers changed dramatically. Gone are the times wher…

Google and SAP - A Marriage in the Clouds

On Mach 8, 2017, SAP and Google announced another marriage in the cloud during Google’s Cloud Next event: SAP HANA is certified on Google’s Cloud Platform GCP, and is generally available now. SAP Cloud Platform and more products and solutions are to follow. The Google Cloud Launcher marketplace will be utilized to offer and deploy to and for customers and partners, starting with SAP HANA, express edition, which is already available, too. Further topics that are covered by this partnership are ·Improving Google’s containerization technologies for enterprise workloads ·Security, privacy, and integrity of customer data in the cloud. As part of this SAP software shall act as a data custodian (NB: How that works in legal and political environments remains to be seen) and joint solutions for access control, governance, risk and compliance shall get developed ·Integrate Google’s G Suite into SAP applications. This has already been implemented for Identity and Access Management. More on the still f…

Clash of Titans

Following all those announcements of AI, machine learning, IoT, IaaS, PaaS and what not over the past months, I was beginning to wonder where the big business software vendors are going. What is the game plan of Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP? How does newcomer Adobe fit in there? Maybe Amazon and Google, too; or Facebook. It is a time for another Quo Vadis – this time: Quo Vadis, industry? Clash of Titans In the last about 2 – 3 years we have seen a strong acceleration of innovation, or at least talk about it. -Cloud computing, offering nearly unlimited scalability and elasticity of computing resources has become main stream. Cloud computing also allows for nearly 100 per cent uptime -Since the advent of the iPhone (yes, I know this was earlier than 2013) the proliferation of sensors has increased a lot, resulting in them becoming cheaper and cheaper, allowing for an increasing number of data rich applications -This has also driven fast mobile connectivity, which has become nearly u…

Watson meets Einstein - Elementary my Dear Holmes

This week Salesforce and IBM announced a global strategic partnership to deliver joint, AI based solutions based upon Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson, their respective AI platforms. The upcoming solutions will be designed to “deliver everage artificial intelligence and enable companies to make smarter decisions, faster than ever before. With the partnership, IBM Watson, the leading AI platform for business, and Salesforce Einstein, AI that powers the world’s #1 CRM, will seamlessly connect to enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more.” IBM Watson will be connected to the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform in a way that augments the customer specific insights that are delivered by Einstein with its structured and unstructured data that comes from a variety of sources, in order to be able to use specific as well as more generic, yet industry relevant, information. “Together, Watson and Einstein wil…