We seem to live in an age where what you say is really important: say the right things and everyone loves you; say the wrong things and you rapidly become a pariah!
For me the importance isn’t so much what people say, it’s more about whether they apply their words: do they actually do what they say?
Business gurus have told us for years the importance of retaining current customers as ‘They are much easier to gain repeat business from than new customers’ etc.
I have had two experiences that fly in the face of this within the past 3 weeks.
Two different companies ‘guaranteed’ to supply services for my business and to acknowledge this agreement in writing.
- The first company did neither and did not make any response to e-mails, telephone calls, a fax or written letter (plenty of promises to call back within 45 minutes etc, just no action), despite my clear indication that I would be pursuing a refund in the event of no response: I got none, so my bank retrieved the payment.
- The second company sent me acknowledgement in writing but then became seemingly uninterested in responding to my e-mails, telephone calls or fax. In addition, this technology-based company has an online formmail system that returns a string of errors when you try to use it. So, a good old ‘snail mail’ signature required letter has been sent so we’ll see if that elicits a response. In the event of none, you’ve guessed it, my bank will be busy again!
What I find amazing, is that I am not alone in these experiences. Several friends in business have experienced the same response and reclaimed their payments.
Now I would have thought that in an economic environment that is not overly healthy or generous, we would all want to retain customers.
So, is what these ‘gurus’ say important and will I listen to those gurus in future?
Yes, it is and yes I will … because I know the importance of a loyal (and satisfied) customer base. Most of the ‘gurus’ I read are actually ordinary people who have built businesses from scratch and learned, often the hard way, the importance of backing up what they say with what they do.
But there are clearly too many who either ‘speak the speak but don’t walk the talk’, or who don’t know about this important principle or who simply don’t care, and for them, I fear the future is not Orange!