The Lesson for Businesses
If you are a business in today's marketplace, you need to be on top of your game in every aspect of your business. Even though the focus groups showed that customers would not agree to a fee for using their debit cards, Bank of America tried to ram one through. Ramming through unpopular policies may work for the US Congress because we taxpayers haven't figured out how to fire all the politicians in one fell swoop, but it won't work for businesses. Think Bank Transfer Day if you have any doubts and make sure you have an effective change management system in place before you start tinkering with changes that affect your customer base.
Here are three simple things you can do and remember to keep your current customers happy and attract new customers:
1. The customer is still king. We are no longer limited to two or three choices of banks, retail stores, or other services. If you make us mad or give us poor customer service, we will hop on the Internet and find someone else who wants our business.
2. Loyalty begets loyalty. I'll be as loyal to you as you are to me. If you treat me right, I'll keep giving you my business. However, I'm not going to pay you outrageous prices for inferior products or a lack of service. If you try to gouge me on price or make the most of a crisis (think gas prices), I will remember and will vote with my feet.
3. Without customers, you are out of business. The smartest business owners know that it is less expensive to keep current customers than to find new ones. While it is true that any business will have attrition and you will need a constant influx of new business to maintain your client base, keeping your existing customers happy and avoiding alienating them is crucial.
After all, the best salesperson you will ever "hire" is a satisfied customer who will tout your products to everyone. You won't have to pay him or her a salary or any benefits, and you will never have to spend a penny of your advertising budget to locate those new customers that he or she will send to you.