When Things Don’t Work: Tolerate or Leave?
Posted by Becky Carroll on May 28, 2008
All of us have days when things don’t go the way they should. Companies have those days, too. Service goes down. Planes don’t take off when they should. A chef doesn’t show up for work. Someone slams a product on a blog.
When things get tough, the company’s response to the problem can make or break their reputation – and their customer base.
The outcome often depends on what kind of relationships have already been built with customers before the problem occurs. Has the company had a history of listening to customers and reaching out to them in their own language? Does the company empower employees to take care of things when they go wrong? Does the company respond to blog posts and other social media conversations? Does the company build customer loyalty by understanding their customers, then communicating with them the way they want to be communicated with? These are all part of a strong customer strategy which will help organizations weather the storms which inevitably come.
If a company does have strong relationships with its customers and has built a loyal customer base, customers may cry foul but will most likely tolerate the issues. They may be very forgiving, even sticking up for the company when others are trying to pull them down. The customer base will remain with the company – critical in slow economic times!
On the flip side, if a company is only focused on trying to squelch negative comments, if they only talk about themselves, if they forget to take the customer’s perspective – then any falter or trip can result in disaster. Grumpy customers and their comments come raining down. Customers spray their problems all over the place, then leave – and take others with them.
Which kind of company do you want to work for?
If you work for the first type of company, kudos to you! Let’s hear some of your great stories!
If you work for the second type of company, I know a good customer strategy consultant that can help you… ;)