From a consumer’s standpoint I think that companies have some customer service practices backwards. We all like to save money, and I think that by being a loyal customer we should get a price break. Unfortunately, I see the opposite occurring all the time. People that are unhappy with a company’s performance/product get a special deal while their customers that are loyal get nothing. From a business’s point-of-view it makes sense. You want to keep your customers so why not give the angry ones a price break to help the odds that they’ll do business with you again. Before I go into how I think the system should work I’ll give you a few examples of the backwardness I’ve seen:
1) Freecreditreport.com- I wrote about them a few months ago, and I mentioned that it really isn’t free at all! When I called to cancel my subscription the automated response offered me 6 months at 50% off (or something close to that). So if you never tried to cancel your account you wouldn’t know about the money you could save.
2) Xo Chai chocolates- I went on a tour of their factory not too long ago. The product they sell “healthy chocolate” was great. The thing I didn’t understand is I was told that if a customer tries to cancel their order they are offered a better deal. If you were setup to receive one box of chocolate a month they would offer you three boxes for the price of two. A decent discount, but one only a complaining customer would receive.
What I’m getting from all of this is that I should be a cranky, complainer in the hopes getting a better deal (and I hate that). I worked in the restaurant business for 10 years, and there is nothing worse than having to deal with an upset customer. The way these companies are doing business rewards unfavorable behavior. I could say, “In order to save money complain to every business you use and see what happens.” Honestly, you probably would see dramatic savings (and some people definitely do this). Instead I think companies should rewards people through the use a loyalty program in which repeat business leads to lower prices. Many companies have set up their organization to run like this, but we need all of them to. Consumers will always expect freebees when they feel like they were wronged, but let’s help loyal customers save money too. Have any of you saved money by complaining, and do you think it’s OK that companies only give discounts to complainers?