How are you treating your customers? Do you have open lines of communication with them so that you really know how they feel? Are your customer loyalty programs attracting and retaining customers or driving them away?
On a recent trip from Calgary to Houston I was bumped out of the Air Canada “Elite” line because my ticket didn’t show my Aeroplan flight rewards status. My wife and kids categorized this as a #firstworldproblem but for those people that travel a lot, not having the loyalty status you have earned is a big deal for quite a few reasons!
For example, I use my status to get into the airport lounges between flights. Besides food and beverages, there is usually a nice place to work complete with free, high speed internet. This means I can usually get a few hours of productive, uninterrupted work completed at each connection and this means less work when I get to my destination. This one feature is really important to me!
Now, as it turns out, my status with Air Canada was canceled by a software upgrade in their business systems. Their upgrade did not match my flight bookings to my account properly and I was instantaneously dumped as a loyal frequent flyer (and I wasn’t the only one). Air Canada could have easily avoided customer frustration by testing their software before making the change and by calling customers that are “programmatically scheduled” to lose their status to see if the status change is legitimate. Instead, they allowed an automated software package to impact their customer loyalty and never bothered to check to ensure the changes being made were correct.
This experience was an eye-opener for me. I think that many businesses are guilty of treating their customers poorly and probably don’t even recognize that they are! Gaining and retaining customers and customer loyalty is critical to the longevity of any business. Furthermore, customer loyalty programs that a business invests in to acquire and retain customers should never end up costing the company business!
So, how are you treating your customers? Are you inadvertently doing something that is driving customers away from your business? Do you solicit feedback from your customer base to ensure that you are identifying issues early so that you can deal with them before they become a crisis?
Spend a few minutes over the next few weeks to answer these questions and maybe put some systems in place to make sure that you are not chasing customers away with the very tools that are supposed to attract and retain them.