How to Lose a Good Customer
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A company should have a good understanding of the customer relationship and offer the products, services, tools and plans that will motivate a customer to stay.
Hardly a day goes by without news of a company reeling from digital disruption. Yet, there's also the sobering fact that many organizations lose customers for far more mundane reasons. Here are three companies I parted ways with in 2016.
Wells Fargo. I've banked with Wells Fargo for many years, but thanks to incredibly inflexible policies, I finally had to leave. The final straw was an untenably low mobile deposit limit that often forced me to drive to a branch office or ATM. However, twice last year, when I headed to an ATM to deposit checks after hours, the machine was out of service.
Then, when I asked a representative—and later a supervisor—to set a higher daily and monthly mobile deposit limit, I was greeted with an ironclad "No." This, despite holding a Premier Relationship Account. What happened to analytics and valuing valuable customers?
United Air Lines. The airline would not budge on reinstating my son's frequent flyer miles without a significant fee—even though I have accumulated nearly 310,000 lifetime miles with the carrier. It turns out that my son began using a different email address and never received a notification of expiring miles. So, there was no way to know that we had to initiate a transaction to keep the miles active.
Since then, I have purchased tickets from competitors for a business trip to France, a vacation in Spain and France, and a 2017 trip to India and the United Arab Emirates. The cost to United in total revenues? About $10,000.
AT&T Wireless. Actually, I had no problem with AT&T in terms of performance or service. This issue occurred because I travel internationally between one and three times each year and, on these trips, I was racking up charges of $500 or more—even with the company's international data plans.
T-Mobile, which doesn't impose a surcharge for international data, caps speeds overseas. But for email, basic mobile browsing or using apps, this isn't an issue. The takeaway? If your competitor offers a far better product or a price that extends to thousands of dollars a year, you had better change or accept that you will lose customers.
Of course, it's impossible to be everything to everybody. But, today, a company should have a pretty good understanding of the customer relationship and offer the products, services, tools, plans and flexibility necessary to motivate a customer to stay. Loyalty must be earned every day.