Sorry + fix = Customer Loyalty

Continuing a thought from the previous post, as a business are you prepared to go further and admit when you’re wrong?

TRUE customer loyalty to a brand or business is often built when a company gets something wrong – then admits it and bends over backwards to fix it.

You see, we’ve come to expect good service and for things to work. So when they do work, no-one notices (just think about your average IT guy or girl). Yet when something goes wrong, you ALWAYS notice. And there’s a real moment of truth for a company in how it deals with that.

Many companies fail dismally. Just check out Not Good Enough to hear some stories that will curl your toes. Yet think about the last time someone went out of their way to fix up a mistake made…and how many people you told. We often only notice GOOD service when it’s correcting (or contrasting) to BAD service.

In the 1990’s I worked for a major telco that made a major bungle. We accidentally “churned” a bunch of people to our service without their written permission. A whole bunch of them. Panic stations ensued when the tech guys told us what had happened…and that to churn them BACK without their consent would be mistake number 2.

So we made a tough call – we decided to send a letter to these people and admit our error and ask what they wanted us to do. Of the thousands of letters we sent out, have a guess how many people opted to churn back? All? Half? A quarter?

Actually, about a hundred. Well under 5%. And we had a bunch of calls from people gushing about how nice it was to see some honesty in business and that as a result of admitting that mistake, they’d decided we were the company for them.

So for a zero budget idea to build massive brand loyalty, make sure you deal with customer issues, complaints and problems in a timely manner – and go out of your way to fix them if you can. You’ll then start to achieve marketing nirvana – customers as advocates.