No.238: Reputation Eliminated

Willmot's Weekly Wisdom

Good enough is no longer enough. Branding and reputation are more critical than ever in this world of global connectivity and social media “screaming”. Your organisation has to bring its A-game every day.

In 2017 and beyond, when your organisation drops the ball and fails to deliver on customer expectations, it’s no longer an individual matter with that particular buyer; it’s potentially a global matter. If your customer feels cheated or exploited, she no longer tells her community of friends on the weekend; she posts to social media. Their social media community blames you and condemns your reputation.

How can you make buyers feel exploited or cheated?

  • Rigidly abide by your organisation’s terms and conditions in spite of common sense.
  • Fiddle the pricing and discounts and claim ignorance when you get found out.
  • Fail to educate your staff that the customers are the people paying their wages (and yours).
  • Belittle the importance of customers’ concerns (hint: their interests are important to them, you are not).
  • Publish terms and conditions (in the smallest font available) that only a lawyer would understand.
  • Reward new customers with discounts or value-adds, while ignoring loyal, long-term patrons.
  • Refuse to compromise a few days on warranty expiration dates.
  • Lower your prices this week, and hope the customers from last week don’t learn about it and complain (hint: surprise and delight your customers with next week’s opportunity—it’s fabulous PR).
  • Ignore or delay responding to telephone calls and e-mails.
  • Failing to communicate promptly on issues (even if unresolved), about which the customer is waiting (hint: absence does not make the heart grow fonder).
  • Treating your next customer poorly because the previous person treated you poorly.
  • Engage in opportunistic-selling rather than customer-focused solutions (hint: they’ll find out what you did).

Quality buyers (the type you should be striving to win and retain) don’t mind paying for quality or premium customer service if it is honourable, valuable, genuine, and pleasing.

“Buyers will pay more for better solutions, intellect, dignity, confidence, trust, and a smile.”
— Ric Willmot.