A Good Strategy?

26 04 2012

It seems more and more the companies we give our business to are less interested in “serving” us and more interested in protecting their assets and bottom line. The days of customer satisfaction and customer service seem to be over. Is this a good money making strategy?

The examples are everywhere from Wireless phone carriers to banks and everything in between. Fees, late fees, over use fees, bandwidth fees, fees on top of fees and it goes on and on. If you reach around behind you you may be surprised at the number of extra hands that are back there helping themselves to your wallet. Is this really who you want to do business with? Is convenience that important that we are willing to drive ourselves into the poor house?

The bigger question is when did this become a customer service strategy? When did a $10 surcharge just to be able to pick the airplane seat you want become a way to make your customer happy. Does $10 on each seat really add that much to the bottom line? Does the extra baggage surcharge actually keep the airline in business? It’s funny how we deal with this every day with the airlines yet Starbucks can charge $5+ for a cup of coffee and no one says anything. Why? Because unlike airline personel who only get paid once the plane takes off, Starbucks employees are treated relatively well and take pride in getting to know their customers and clientele. When your staff treats a customer like they are valued the customer is willing to spend more. Look at names like Disney and Apple who also pride themselves on customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction, at least on the customer facing side.

So once everything is disected can we really argue that survival mode and piling on fees, higher interest rates, etc. is a good strategy for long term survival? A better way to answer that is ask yourself how you feel about your, Mac, iPhone, last Disney vacation or movie or that last latte you had from Starbucks and then compare that to how you felt you were treated by the last airline you flew with or your cell phone carrier for example. This is what motivates us to open our wallet and return with loyalty to places where “bargain” and “additional fees” are hard to find.

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