Customers are getting tired of organizations lying to them. So, it's time to stop lying.
"As your environmental partner, Oxigen recognize the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and minimizing the impact of our collection on the environment." This is how a print letter (very environmental) from my local rubbish collection company starts. As soon as I read "environmental partner" I smelt something rotten. I pay them money to collect my rubbish. That is not exactly an environmental partnership.
"To achieve this we wish to advise you that we are amending our collection schedule," the non-environmental print letter continued. "It will involve the collection of your black and green bins together on a fortnightly basis using specially designed dual chamber trucks"
I had to read this environmental waffle a couple of times to understand exactly what it was telling me which was: WE WILL NOW ONLY COLLECT YOUR RUBBISH ONCE A FORTNIGHT
You see, they used to collect it once a week. Am I getting an environmental discount? No. I do love helping companies like Oxigen help themselves to my money.
Later in the letter they tell me about increased diesel fees and increases in the landfill levy. Fine, if costs have genuinely gone up then what I have to pay needs to go up or my level of service needs to be reduced. But why not be honest?
Is it so difficult to be honest to customers?
And do organizations really think we customers are all monumental fools? That we are such idiots? That we can't see through their spin and propaganda? Where are communicators getting educated these days? At the North Korean School of Communications?
I also recently got an email from Aer Lingus, an airline I fly a lot with. It was from John Kavanagh who is a Loyalty Marketing Manager. "To speed your journey through the Check-in area your Gold Circle / Business Class Priority Check-in Desk have been relocated," John cheerfully wrote.
"Your Priority Check-in desks in Terminal 2 have moved to Desks 55 and 56. These desks are at the opposite end of the Aer Lingus Check-in area to their previous location. We are sure you will find it much easier to access these Priority Check-in desks, particularly during peak travel periods. These desks are also conveniently located adjacent to the Aer Lingus Ticket Desk and Aer Lingus Customer Service Desk."
In no possible way are these new check in desks more convenient. They add at least 5 minutes to the time it takes me to get to my gate. They have been relocated because it is more convenient for Aer Lingus. John is a loyalty 'marketing' manager and he sent me an email that clearly stated "DoNotReply".
Often, loyal customers get punished and exploited.
A UK study published in June 2012 found that "Many leading banks, insurers and energy companies are ripping off existing customers by making them pay to phone them while offering free numbers to new customers."
Loyalty is a two-way street. If organizations want their customers to be loyal then they need to show loyalty in return.
The question is not: How loyal are our customers? The question is: How loyal are we to our customers?
Also by Gerry Mcgovern: The Real Reason Why Intranets Aren't Working