Are You Losing Customers?

Are you so successful that you can afford to lose good, long-term customers?  Most of us want to retain customers and continue to provide value for them.  But  inflexible policies and procedures can cost you business.

dreamstime_s_43391176Let me share a story.  I recently moved from Florida to California.  I notified my banks, the IRS, my credit card companies, etc.   All transferred me over to the new address except one- a gas company.  I had been their customer for 26 years. That’s a long time. I typically spent $4000 a year with them, including some $500 moving across country

And they would not allow me to change my address.  I called and they said I needed to provide proof of the move in writing,  Which I did- to no avail.  They continued to send bills to the old address, where anyone could see my credit card number and use it. (Most companies no longer put account numbers on bills for this very reason.)  They were not concerned about that kind of fraud; I was.

They refused to accept the proof I sent them. They wanted something from the Secretary of State of California. They were absolutely rigid and unyielding. And so I cancelled my card.  They lost a 26 year customer over a policy.

It’s the exact opposite of how a customer-focused organization like the Ritz Carlton operates.  As I understand it, every employee is empowered to fix a customer problem up to $200.  Above that, they can go higher and seek assistance for the guest.

That’s how you keep long-term customers.  Think about your policies and the way you do business.  Could some added flexibility enhance relationships?

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