Companies do it all the time – they put their brand in the hands of third parties who care less about your brand and only about transactions at any cost.
This worked fine in a world where customer experience was masked by word of mouth or buried in the back of news papers. In this new world, transparency exposes brand’s truths. As they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. The difference now is that is is the customers administering the sunlight.
Telstra’s a brand I’ve tried to like. Some great marketing, a strong agency, good people — all of that persuaded me to give them a go. Terrible experiences in mobile and broadband left me disappointed. The company that felt it necessary to call me constantly so see if I was happy, hasn’t bothered to call once since I switched to Vodafone.
And today we’ve been harassed no less than six times from a company called Telechoice. Now when we ask them who there company is, they just hang-up. But call they do. They represent Telstra apparently.
I’ve never bought into the argument that the customer is in more control than ever – all I can do is move my business elsewhere and I’ve always been able to do that. But what we do have is the ability to expose brands for what they are at an unprecedented scale. Take the promise of Spark – a rebranded Telecom NZ – which despite a fresh new look thinks its ok to have people knocking on your door at 6pm at night. Not fresh and friendly at all. Or Telstra’s constant interruptions of our family Saturday morning.
Brand owners need to take charge of customer experience – starting with the sales process. And they need to get ruthless about realising the expectations of their leadership for nothing other than stellar customer service.
Those that don’t should expect nothing other than total transparency in the market and a good dose of sunlight.