When either of us mentions the name of our new book, Smart Customers, Stupid Companies, we get the same reaction: a laugh, followed by a nod.
Everyone gets it. We all know that customers are getting smarter, thanks to smart phones, smart wireless devices, and millions of apps–the vast majority of which entrepreneurs created. But companies have not kept up, and many established firms behave in a manner that customers think is stupid.
Here’s the thing: customers usually don’t take it personally. They just walk away, in increasing numbers: in 2011, nearly 90 percent said they’ll dump a brand after a single bad experience–compared to 68% in 2006.
At the same time, very few executives immediately think, “That’s us, our company acts stupidly.” They don’t see that the ways they’ve always done business are pushing customers out the door. Whoops.
So, to make matters crystal clear, here are five ways–leading indicators, if you will–to help you tell if you’re running a stupid company. Do any of these apply to your firm?
1) If your company closes–ever–you might be running a stupid company.
At many companies, customer service and support is provided only during certain hours: if you call after, say, 6 p.m. Pacific Time, technical support is closed. Seriously? Does the firm really expect that none of their products are installed or used after 6 p.m.?