I live in a respectable apartment building. I’m responsible, always pay my rent on schedule, and even do my own repairs most of the time. I’m the perfect tenant. So, when I asked the property owner for something, I was shocked when I was refused. Being the service-obsessed man that I am, I wrote an email to tell him how I felt. His response? “You are locked into your contract until June.” Yes, I was appalled. Yes, I was disappointed. But most of all, I was confused. In today’s uncertain economic environment in which consumers are questioning the necessity of goods and services, shouldn’t service providers be obsessively conscious of the link between great service and customer retention?
Logic dictates that in tough economic times, when people aren’t buying new goods and services, that folks would do whatever they can to keep the customers they already have. That means rolling out the service red carpet. Some already service-oriented organizations are stepping it up. Others are using the fear of the uncertainty to keep their customers (my landlord probably thinks he has me because the housing market isn’t great and moving in these unconventional economic times will be stressful). But a few organizations that have not been known for service up to this point in time, have suddenly switched into great service gear to improve their bottom line. These are the folks that need to understand that the American public is not dumb. When “sudden good service” is implemented without strategy or a history, the results are sure to translate as disingenuous; consumers will see right through it. If service tenants are established to retain consumers, increase profits, and save the company during economic hardship, the company’s values are misaligned and the “exceptional service delivery” is sure to be temporary. In other words, self-serving good service to save your you-know-what doesn’t count!
I, for one, will not be fooled by the fear or sudden outpouring of service. I will stay true to the corporations who have kept great service at the core of their business model, regardless of the economy. And, I will be moving out in June.
We want to hear from you! Respond to one, all or none of the questions below. We just want to hear your thoughts!
Do you agree that more companies are trying to win your continued business by providing great service or promoting fear?
Do you have an example of a company that has tried to intimidate you into staying with them during this economy?
Do you have an example of a company that has stepped up its service out of the blue? Did you feel it was a genuine switch? What was your response?