Putting customers first isn’t just the moral thing to do. It’s the best long-term business plan. By being warm, kind, and transparent, you build customer loyalty and trust.
You turn customers into advocates. And, there’s no better marketing plan than that. In the two examples below, you’ll see how one company used words to make my husband and me loyal customers. And, how another company has driven my friends away.
Caeden’s Product Delay Built Customer Loyalty
My husband recently decided to join the step-counting community. But, he wanted a step counter that was attractive enough for work and monitored his heart rate. After a good deal of research, he pre-ordered Caeden’s Sona Connected Bracelet.
Unfortunately, Caeden had to delay delivery. Here is the opening from the email alert he received:
I’m writing today about your Pre-Order of the Sona Connected Bracelet. It is a very exciting time for us at Caeden—as you may know from our last email, we are currently in the final stages of our ramp up to production for the bracelet. These last steps involve manufacturing production runs to test the form and function of the bracelet before we ship them out to you.
During our rigorous quality testing of these production batches, we unfortunately discovered a stability issue that required us to update one of the electrical components to a more recently released version in which these problems were resolved. More specifically, we have updated one of our two onboard processors to a newer, more stable, more energy-efficient version with improved firmware. We have tested and procured this component, and it will be incorporated into our final mass production build now scheduled for the end of this month.
As a result, our shipping window has shifted several weeks. Including air freight time from China, this means that the first Sonas will be arriving to customers in August.
This email does a lot of things right:
- It offers transparency – Caeden didn’t pussyfoot around the issue. They addressed it head on – the product would arrive later than originally promised.
- It explains (rather than making excuses) – They explained how the late arrival was due to their commitment to quality. This only enhanced Garrett’s certainty he’d selected the right step counter.
- It establishes new expectations – By establishing a new delivery window, Caeden made sure Garrett wasn’t left wondering.
As part of the email alert, Caeden also invited those with delayed pre-orders to purchase their most deluxe headphones for a significant discount. Because the deluxe headphones were substantially larger than either Garrett or I wanted, he inquired if we could apply the discount to their slimmer module, the Linea N°2.
The president of Caeden, Nora Levinson, asked which color we would like and sent us a pair for free.
Guys, I LOVE my new headphones. They are incredibly comfortable. They work great. And, the girl in me loves their clean design and rose gold accents. I use them now exclusively for taking work calls. And I have to say, when they wear out, I will be ordering another pair.
Caeden’s made incredibly loyal customers and advocates out of both Garrett and myself.
Unfortunately, for some businesses being transparent and kind is easier said than done.
Apartment Management’s False Statements Lose Renters
My good friend James and his wife have lived in the same apartment for nearly two years. Prior to moving in they considered several places with similar attributes (reasonable rent, close proximity to work, and desirable amenities like a fitness gym). They choose their current home because the staff was warm, kind, and transparent.
Throughout their time, they frequently praised the location. They even convinced three new couples to move in.
Unfortunately, two months ago their complex was sold and the staff was fired. Additionally, the new owners began immediate construction on the complex.
James reported the new staff is cold. The construction workers and their equipment have commandeered more than ¼ of the parking. And, the apartment administration consistently released announcements riddled with false statements. For example, the management said:
- No construction workers will park on campus.
- The management is working hard to resolve the parking shortage.
James and his wife plan to move soon. And, they have encouraged at least two potential renters to look elsewhere.
Don’t skirt the truth. If something bad happens – tell your customers. Explain why the situation occurred, any steps you are taking to correct the situation, and how long your customers can expect to be impacted.
In the case of the apartment complex, management could have easily made the renters feel valued by explaining how the updates were to the renters’ benefit. They could have outlined how old the building was, how long it had been since upgrades had been made, and how many maintenance requests had been submitted due to the old site.
Ultimately, it’s always about putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you were them, why would you care? Why would you support the decision? That’s the message you want to deliver.