Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Don't Treat Customers As Revenue Sources.

My mobile phone provider frequently fills my time with irrelevant offers designed to bring them more revenue. My mobile phone provider also knows I make a lot of international calls. But when they implemented a new international call plan six months ago, they failed to tell me about it. As someone admitted, "they don't shout about it".

Presumably, they don't expect their customers to shout about it, but I did.

Firstly on the phone where I had to endure a whole bunch of security questions despite making it clear at the outset that I was just seeking to clarify when the plan was implemented.

That just served to remind me of the insurance company with which I once worked. They discovered that they asked a woman more than twenty scripted questions when she rang their emergency claim line before they got to the important question are you ok? At the time she was less than ok - her house was burning down in front of her along with the policy details they were demanding.

Then I tried by letter. I addressed it by name to the customer service director, but received a written response from someone else. Its first words? "Good Morning" followed by an acknowledgment that I had now signed myself up to the plan and the implication that all was now well.

That just served to give me the impression they were an outsourced worker with no authority to deal with my query (other than to fob it off). It also made me realise that this customer was in the middle of a common pincer movement comprised of a cost-cutting exercise and a revenue-maximising approach.

Yes, it maximises marginal profit. But in a world of inert (and thus continually profitable) customers, your focus should be on making them more inert. You really should avoid giving them reasons to contemplate leaving you.


Anonymous patrick said...

Last week 02 sent me a bar of chocolate in the post, for no apparent reason other than to say "thanks for being a customer". No "email this" or "sms that" or "visit here to sign up". Nothing. Just low grade confectionery and a thank you note.

I nearly fell over.

I think it says something for the level of service we expect from telcos that a cheap choccy bar could shock me so.

4:17 PM, October 26, 2010  

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