We Are Not Happy Until You Are NotBrand Promise

Every once in a while I jokingly will say the motto of a company who gives me bad customer service is:

We’re not happy until you’re not happy.

There are certain industries that this seems to be especially true. People complain and joke about some of their experiences with government agencies. Or, how about the reputation of the cable TV industry? It’s hard to shake off a reputation for bad service that has been going on for years – although they do seem to be getting better. Other industries, such as the airlines and cell phone service providers are doing their best to improve.

First, you have to know that customer’s expectations are higher than ever. They expect good service. We teach the customer what good service is when we tout our awards and make promises. When United makes a promise such as Fly the friendly skies, then they better be prepared to deliver on that promise. That’s why they call it a brand promise! And, when it is delivered, the brand is established.

Unfortunately, businesses can let their customers down. It’s not just happening in the cable TV, airline and phone industries. It’s happening in all industries.

Businesses upset their customer’s numerous ways. Here are just a few:

  • They make mistakes that cause complaints. No one or no company is perfect. Even the best brands that are known for the customer service, such as Zappos, Nordstrom and others. Customers understand this. It’s the way the problems and complaints are handled that make the difference between the best and the rest.
  • They make bad hires that aren’t good at delivering customer service. I’m surprised at how some companies allow questionable employees to work in direct customer-facing jobs. Or any job for that matter. One bad employee can lose a customer and bring down a company’s culture.
  • They have policies that aren’t customer focused. I hate it when an employee says, “That’s our policy.” Typically, that is the line that is used to hide behind rules and policies that are more company-focused than customer-focused. Employees should be given guidelines, not hard-and-fast policies. They should be empowered to come up with creative solutions that are good for the customer, and at the same time, doesn’t hurt the company.
  • They make it hard to do business with them. I always ask my clients, “How easy is it to do business with you?” It’s important to make the customer experience frictionless. Customers want a hassle-free experience. They want speed and simplicity.

If you’re going to make a brand promise, keep it. Otherwise, you and your company may be the brunt of the punchline… We’re not happy until you’re not happy!