When I studied marketing and finance we were taught that “The Customer is always right.” Have values completely changed, are a new group of incompetents running businesses these days, or is there another explanation?
Two separate incidents happened recently that I would appreciate hearing your opinions about.
So I appoint you as marketing judges to evaluate the behavior of managers in two individual situations:
- A local Italian restaurant is one of our favorites. We frequent it often, and have introduced it to friends, who also are now clients of this establishment. One friend, knowing how special it is to us, sent us a gift certificate of dinner for two. How special! We saved his gift for a special occasion. When we chose the date to go, we discovered with horror that the certificate was lost: gone. Taken? Stolen? Accidentally thrown into the garbage? We would never know. All we knew is that it wasn’t where we had put it and was nowhere to be found. I called the restaurant and explained our dilemma to the manager only to be told that a gift certificate is just like cash: when it’s gone it’s gone. There would be no consideration from the restaurant and no acknowledgement of the certificate. That seemed like a cold and unfair policy to me as a frequent customer: what do you think?
2.My two daughters and I visited a spa a few years ago and have returned several times in the last few years. The spa gave us each a post card to be sent to any first time visitor, offering one free treatment. I sent the post card to my husband, hoping he would join us there some day. He carefully saved the card and finally, three years after he received it he agreed to come with us.
But when we presented the post card we were informed that the spa no longer honored this card. Do you think it is a fair policy to discontinue an offer without announcing it to clients?
These two examples of business practices left us with the feeling of never wanting to frequent these places again. And all the times we will tell these stories cannot be good advertising for any business. Our Economics classes in Graduate school gave us the statistic that if a customer is satisfied with the way they were treated they will tell one other person. If they are unhappy about the way they were treated they will tell NINE.
And the four of us were unhappy about the way we were treated…