I just received a text message from O2, my mobile / cell phone provider. It turns out that they wanted to let me know that they were about to withdraw one of the benefits of using their service.
However, rather than just admit that, for whatever reason, they were about to withdraw this benefit – they decided to try and “sell” this drop in service as something for me to get excited about.
Here’s what they did!
I get a great service from O2. So, I called them and was treated to a recorded announcement, from an over-enthusiastic voice actor. He wanted to tell me about some great new changes. The ‘great change’ is that O2 are removing a free service that I value and replacing it with, well, nothing!
It gets worse – because what followed was a sales pitch, to try and get me to buy things from an uninspiring list of companies, which O2 has deals with. In my opinion, these were simply the kind of regular ‘offers’ you get for free in the press.
So, O2 have stopped me receiving a service I wanted and used the removal of this service, as an opportunity to ask me to go and spend money with their “offer partners!”
So, I thought I would share my experience with my readers….
…and that’s what this post is all about!
Old style customer service
Until recently, big companies could get away with this kind of behaviour. Their customers had no voice and were largely powerless to do anything. Yes, they could move to another provider, but for a fairly small inconvenience like this, very few customers, if any, would go through he considerable expense of buying their way out of a phone contract.
Social media empowers customers like never before
But, in 2009, customers have a voice. If companies treat customers like fools, under-deliver or fail to back-up their promises, they can pay a hefty cost. Today, people have blogs, social networks and in many cases (like my own), they have access to the attention of hundreds of thousands of people.
In an interconnected world, it pays more than ever, to ensure your customers expectations are met or exceeded.
Samsung NC10 – It’s brilliant!
Companies can also benefit massively from their customer’s use of social media. For example, I wrote recently about the amazing Samsung NC10 netbook computer and it’s ability to work all day long, on a single charge! My glowing endorsement of this wonderful machine was all the more powerful, because I have no association with Samsung and gain nothing from endorsing their machine.
That makes this kind of endorsement super-powerful – far more powerful than a paid-for commercial or sponsored post. I know for a fact that people have now bought that computer, because of what I wrote.
If you want to drive up sales and boost the reputation of your brand, make sure you treat people better than they expect and better than your competitors do.
If you want to lose customers and hurt your reputation, just do the opposite!