How proactive are you when it comes to looking after your best customers? How proactive do you think you need to be?
Think of your customers as your friends for a moment. If you knew that they were facing problems or there were troubles around the corner what would you do? Us girls might think about a friend who we know has started dating someone who is still in regular contact an ex. The short term pain of telling that person about what is happening is more than worth the hassle of seeing them potentially hurt in the long run. It may even bring a deeper friendship to the relationship.
You might be thinking what has this got to do with business?
Recently I was having issues with my new car. The Sat Nav had a mind of its own, whilst out in the middle of nowhere late one evening (I know they all do but this was a bona fide issue). I called the dealer to make an appointment and went to get it checked. On arrival the agent said to me, “Let’s just check that problem isn’t on the recall list.”
I was slightly surprised at this. If there had been a recall on something like a car why hadn’t they contact me previously? Anyhow, these things can happen I suppose and left the issue there.
A couple of weeks ago however I had to go back again, this time and issue with windscreen wipers having a mind of their own and the passenger windows creaking worse than my knees. “Let’s just check there is nothing on the recall list.” Now the first time maybe, but a second time? Surely the dealership is not this reactive.
In fairness to the dealership they also rectified another issue with the volume of the sat nav, that I had totally forgotten to mention to them. How do I know that? Well when they returned the car they informed me that there had been a recall to update the software on the sat nav. I wonder when they would have told me about that one if I hadn’t gone in?
I can understand why this scenario is a challenge for businesses. Do you want to admit that you are having problems to your clients? My first thoughts though, when I found out about the recalls is why had no-one contacted me earlier? This issue would’ve been dealt with proactively and I would accept that it happens, problems happen for everyone.
I look at the mess that Volkswagen have got themselves into, almost wiping out the whole company through lack of transparency and honesty. As consumers are we not more sensitive these days to something that might seem like a cover up? We’d rather know the truth so we can deal with it and at the same time, in the long-term and probably short term as well, we’d understand the issues.
If businesses treat consumers like they don’t matter, or aren’t pro-active in their behaviour they risk losing good customers and sometimes irreversible damage. Next time you’re considering not informing your customers think twice about what the outcomes might be.
My examples were for recalls, but how about something ‘every day’ … if you know that your customer’s delivery isn’t going to take place in the time slot promised due to a delay on the motorways, would you let them know? Most companies may think this is out of their control as they’re using an external delivery service, just think how your customer will feel if you let them know.
Are you as proactive? Or has this article made you consider ways in which you could make changes?