Like most people, I'm impetuous. If I have a bad brand experience, I typically take my money elsewhere.
Like today. A few weeks ago, my trusted Philips electric razor lost its will to live after many years of faithful service. Disappointed, I gave it a decent burial and headed out to a bargain behemoth to purchase a new one. I know, I get what I deserve for being cheap when it comes to my pretty face, but these are tough times. Pennies will be pinched.
So, I buy a Remington razor, bring it home, charge it and the next morning I eagerly apply it to face after a gentle wash. I stretch the skin, apply both blades, do a little circular motion. Yet despite my best efforts, it's not giving me a nice, smooth even shave. There are stubborn little patches all along my neck and around my jaw that prove impervious to the double row of blades.
The booklet says to give it about three weeks, but I wasn't noticing any improvement. I constantly had to take a trimmer and run it all over my neck and face to clear out the many stragglers. So I decide to call Remington to voice my concern about the product's performance. I explain what I bought, that I'd been using it for about three weeks and that I hadn't encountered such an ineffective electric razor before. That was that. The person on the other end, huffy, shut down the call by telling me to take it back to the store where I bought it if I was unhappy. And that was that.
Despite my disappointment with the razor, I was willing to hear out Remington to see if they had suggestions to get better results, if there had been problems with that product, anything to address my experience or concerns. No dice. And they made no attempt to ask any questions about the product or how I used it. In short, the company acted like it didn't care that I had a negative experience and wanted to be done with me.
Now, you may see nothing wrong with what Remington did. I was an unhappy customer and they told me to return the product. Which I concede I could have done. But I figured they'd want to know if someone was unhappy with their product and have a chance to do something about it. Instead, I'm sharing my experience with you and a few hundred people on Twitter, and telling you I won't be buying Remington products again.
It comes down to this: if you care about and stand behind your products or services, then you do so when someone isn't happy with them. You make an attempt to uphold their brand integrity, or set things right. You work to please that customer with an eye to ensuring he or she remains a loyal customer. You hear out his or her concerns. You make some effort to address them. It creates a positive association. The customer feels better about the situation and may be willing to work with you to a resolution. Do it right and you not only retain a customer, you enjoy positive word of mouth.
But if you shrug and dismiss concerns, you lose that opportunity to engage a customer, to transform a negative experience and to avoid poor word of mouth. Word of mouth that, I might add, spreads further and faster than ever thanks to the world wide web and its wonderful social media tools. Word of mouth that damages your brand.
So now several hundred people know my experience with Remington. Will it influence their purchasing decisions? Who knows. But why take that risk if you don't have to. Make the effort; show you care about your products and customers. It's one way to ensure your reputation remains blemish-free and looking good.