I know that last week I promised a series about change and how to make it sustainable and lasting — and we’ll get there. But first I need to tell you a more pressing story that I can’t get out of my head. It’s bothering me, and I want to make sure none of you ever make this same mistake. Onto the story…
There’s a brand I love, a business I visit all the time and vouch for to anyone who will listen. The staff know me, and I’m a good recurring customer who brings friends all the time. And I decided to offer them some free stuff just because I love them so much. I went up to speak to the owners and made my offer.
Let’s just say it did not go well.
Insulted and humiliated, I sat back down, paid my bill, and high-tailed put of there, vowing to never return. To politely decline is one very acceptable thing, but to insult a customer’s profession and free offer is quite an unacceptable other. Faster than I could say “To each their own,” the business owner transformed me from a True Fan into a vehement naysayer.
It’s frustrating to think that hours of hard work can go into pleasing and serving a client, and that a one minute interaction can belittle it all to next to nothing. The positive is out the window, while what stays left behind is the sour taste of a sour encounter. It sounds frustrating, and it isn’t fair.
Brand loyalty should be stronger than that. Brand loyalty should be harder to break. But, the hard truth is that it isn’t hard to break at all.
One sour encounter, late shipment, moody customer service rep, faulty product, or lukewarm service — any single negative experience — can cause huge detriment to your brand immediately.
Are you safe-guarding your brand? Are your customer interactions positive? Is your staff well-trained? More importantly, are you delivering on your brand’s promise? Sure about that?