Home > Uncategorized > Brands need the sweet after taste

Brands need the sweet after taste

images For the past couple of weeks a member of the family has been ill. Several tests later no one was any the wiser.  Finally on the weekend we were told to have her admitted to a hospital for a couple of days so that a specialist could conduct further tests and uncover the issue.

So, Saturday morning we duly arrived at the hospital. Some tests were done and then we awaited the specialist. And waited. And waited. 6 hours from us showing up the specialist arrived. By then, as you can imagine, we were all irritated, angry, frustrated and so on.

But the doctor changed everything in an instant. He apologised, which did nothing to our mood. But his demeanour, bed side manner, the way he dealt with the patient, everything was just so wonderful. Perfect, even. He spent a good half an hour with us. Gave us his mobile number to call at any time. And left with more apologies. This time we ‘forgave’ him.

We left the hospital feeling positively happy with the experience. Forgotten was the 6 hour wait.

And that’s the point of this short note. Marketers need to ensure that their customers always have that sweet after taste.

It is this thinking that drives companies like Amazon to not question consumer complaints. Free replacement. Overnight shipping. Reversing charges. It is all driven by ensuring the consumer leave happy with the experience.

Contrast that with nearly any real world supermarket experience. It is still hell. You are pretty much guaranteed a long wait at check out. Firstly the available tills are never manned. Then the person in front will not have change, or have a product without a price, or will have forgotten something and be ‘back in a second’ and so on. Frustrates the hell out of you. I nearly always leave a store remembering the check out lines. Not a good taste.

The other one of course is airport immigration lines. You could have travelled first class but when you land you are one of the masses and you have that long irritating line to go through. a very few airports have separate counters for first and business class passengers. Now some airlines are giving passengers express clearance passes to fast track the process. Few airports care about giving passengers a pleasant experience. But airlines do. So this is their way to show that they care.

But what about non service brands? esp FMCGs where you don’t know who bought your product?

Well an unhappy customer is likely to complain.

In the good old days a few really perseverent customers would write in to the company headquarters. These letters would either be binned or sent to legal. This is true. I have worked on brands where the brand manager has shown me a drawer full of customer complaints and joking referred to it as ‘handed over’ from the previous guy.

But these are new days. More customers will take to social media and rant. And others will like/favourite/share/retweet and so on. Ignoring customers is a perilous task. Big brands like Dell have social media listening posts to track good and bad customer comments and react in real time. And when brands respond the customer feels she is listened to and leaves that transaction happy.

That is the sweet after taste that is nirvana and has customers coming back for more. That is brand loyalty.

Coming back to my hospital episode, this evening (Sunday) we called him with some Qs and he answered the phone, handled all our Qs and we’re still happy. My super market on the other hand…less said the better.

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