Unintentional Selling – Selling Customers on Defecting

verizonI’ve hit on this topic several times before when I ranted about:

Today, Verizon Wireless gets the brunt of my wrath!
I’m a planner.  I make sure in advance that every detail has been covered because I hate surprises.  So before my recent trip, I purchased a new smart phone after I was assured that it would work in Europe and Turkey.  Then I called Verizon to confirm that my new phone would work in the three cities where I would be and I subsequently purchased Global Roaming.
Then, on October 9, it happened.  I landed in London and had no phone service.  How could this be possible after the precautions which I’d taken?  I was panicking because I had no way to connect and I desperately needed to connect.  I found a wireless network (that wouldn’t be the case in the Turkey airport), got Skype working, called Verizon and was told that my phone would not work in London, Istanbul or Amsterdam.  And it wouldn’t work anywhere else in Europe either.  Duh.  I had already figured that out myself.  But what was Verizon going to do about it?  Could they unlock it so that I could purchase a SIM card?  No, that would have been too easy.  Could they refer me to a partner in Turkey so that I could get a phone to use while I was there?   No, that would have been too complicated.  I could buy a disposable phone, but Heathrow airport didn’t have any stores which  sold them.  There was literally nothing that they could do.  The people who needed to connect with me were out of luck.  They couldn’t connect with me, nor could I connect with them.  My entire trip was in jeopardy.
Companies make mistakes.  People make mistakes. We judge them not by their mistakes, but how they solve the problems which they caused.  Not only could my entire problem have been avoided, Verizon could have had someone meet me at my next stop with a working phone.  I would have paid for that.  A small company would have found a way to do that because they cherish every customer and wouldn’t want to lose even one.  However, once companies get to a certain size, they race to the bottom, don’t care about churn and their support people care little about anything except meeting call number quotas.  ‘Uh-oh. I’ve had Dave on the phone for 10 minutes. I’m 5 minutes over. Need to get to the next call. “Sorry sir, there’s nothing I can do to help.”‘
Companies still don’t seem to understand that it doesn’t matter if their marketing is good.  It doesn’t matter if they they sell effectively.  It doesn’t matter if the product or service is good.  At the point when they show their customers that they really don’t care about their customer’s experience, the customer will have been well sold on defecting.
Put as much effort into keeping your customers as you do into getting your customers and your business will grow from word-of-mouth!  We often help companies whose sales have been flat for several years.  The usual reason is that their salespeople are failing to bring in new business.  On the flip side, the one thing these companies seem to be doing well is keeping the business they have.  Kudos to them!