From personal observations and talking to customer facing employees:
Observation no. 1: Bad guys win.
It appears to be a good strategy for customers to be inconvenient (from a company’s perspective). Never accept anything that doesn’t satisfy your expectations, enforce your right, complain, be loud. Most companies will try to calm you down and give you what you want, in order to get rid of the problem. Companies trying to satisfy their customers is basically a good thing. Nobody would argue about that. But there is another side to the story.
Observation no. 2: Nice guys lose.
The quiet customers, those who maybe complain once, but will not really push it when things aren’t going their way, are usually worse off. They don’t “squeeze” as much service or value out of a company.
The lesson customers are taught is this: demand, be wild, push it to the limits. It often pays off. By giving in to this behaviour companies reward it and make it more likely that customers will come with guns blazing (hopefully just figuratively speaking) instead of playing it nice. Although I am sure, companies prefer customers of the quiet type – because they are very likely also more profitable. But they do little to foster this kind of behaviour.
Food for thought: Business done with nice people is more profitable
In his 2006 book «Killer customers», Larry Selden argues that grouping customers by profitability, understanding their behavior and treating them adequatly will allow you to become more profitable.
Why is there no “Hey, you are a really nice customer that gives us little trouble”-bonus? Or the “You have never been asking for anything special”-gift? Or more simply: «Of course we fix your problem without you giving us a hell of a time.»
And why not tell those angry, choleric grouches: «We are very sorry that we can not serve you the way you deem right. It seems that your expectations and our way of doing business are incompatible so we would like to terminate this business relationship.»
I wonder if there are any companies that reward friendly behaviour. I would definitely appreciate it and I guess their employees as well.
What about you? Share your opinion and leave a comment.