The Lamest Excuses Companies Give For Not Being More Customer-Centric

We've all done business with a company that clearly does not give a crap about earning customer loyalty.

It's. So. Frustrating.

They take your money without appreciation. They have ambivalent customer service. There's no passion for the product, just another company with something to sell you.

It's especially frustrating for those of us who work in an engagement and loyalty function. How can our genuine efforts to build loyalty often produce minimal results, when a brand does nothing for customers continues to do so well?

It's not fair.

These companies have good, sometimes great core products and services. But their "customer experience" is built around endless selling and upselling, then making it as hard as possible to find customer service resources.

Sound familiar? This is the common behavior of some of the biggest brands in the world.

But, to be fair, plenty of small businesses and membership organizations are guilty of the same negligence. And it's a growing issue among the new wave of online, SaaS businesses. User experience is prioritized, but customer experience hasn't quite caught on.

Everyone knows the value of a loyal customer, right? There are countless studies published on the high returns loyal customers offer. Scroll through our loyalty stats page and check out several of them released in just the past 3-4 years.

So why don't more companies put forth more of an effort to engage and retain customers?


Here are the Top Excuses Companies Give for Not Pursuing Customer Loyalty:

  • They'll get their money elsewhere - A majority of consumer brands are owned by a small handful of conglomerates. If people don't like one paper towel brand, they can just buy another - also owned by the same company.
  • They know consumers don't have any other choice - This comes mostly from the world of service providers. It's not fair, but competition hasn't caught up with them to an extent where they feel any pain. This is the category your utilities, data and TV providers fall into.
  • They're too reliant on loyalty programs - Yes, some companies with loyalty program don't care much for customer loyalty. Sounds goofy, right? They use these programs as acquisition tools. Then they never provide value, or they make the value so difficult to capture that consumers just disengage.
  • They see loyalty merely as a means of maximizing revenue - Some pundits say that loyalty allows companies to charge as much as possible for their products and services. Longtime customers are only there for brands to test price elasticity and profit maximization.
  • They're trying; they're just terrible at it - This is the scariest thought, isn't it? That companies who repeatedly flub interactions and leave customers high and dry may not even be aware of their incompetence is scary. This is characterized by making uninformed assumptions about what customers want, spending more on loyalty programs than customer service, and other ill-advised decisions.
  • They don't want to draw attention to themselves - These humble companies mean well, they just don't want to do anything to draw too much attention to themselves. They make the sale, send the customer off, then cross their fingers for a good experience. Engaging customers brings too much scrutiny, too many customer service issues to solve. These organizations like to pretend customers are T-Rexes, who won't eat you if you just stand very, very still.
  • They think they're good enough - This could be arrogance, saying customer churn is just the customers not recognizing how great a product is. But it's also innocent ignorance, usually in the form of a new business, or a small business that has a core product but no real concept of customer experience.
  • They know acquisition is easier and cheaper than earning loyalty - This is where the majority of companies land. Shareholders and some executives only care for the new blood. It's more exciting than investing in good customer service, employee engagement, and all of those other "loss centers." Just replace churned customers with new ones, right?Loyalty Statistics The Ultimate Collection

Don't Give up the Good Fight

Some of those excuses are legitimate. As we've said before, most people go into business because they have a great product idea. They can make amazing spaghetti, or code like a mad dog. They never planned on having to constantly win back customers.

But that's what it takes, for companies that care.

It's not fair that some major brands will continue to make billions of dollars while basically spitting on their own customers. In some cases, there are legitimate barriers preventing them from doing so. In other cases, they're the least crappy option in a limited industry of crappy options.

This doesn't mean regular businesses can get away with the same nonsense. Don't try to emulate something just because it works for enterprise bullies. And really, does it work that well? If these companies actually put forth an effort, they'd be wildly successful and beloved. Instead, their loyalty budget goes to promotions and legal services, most likely.

Go all in on great customer experiences. Beef up your customer service. Personalize your communications. Incentivize, reward, discount, respond - do what you need to keep customers in the fold.

Every industry is ripe for disruption by a business that cares about customer needs more than other companies. Over the long haul, it'll pay off

Make (customer engagement-centric) love, not excuses.

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Topics: customer loyalty

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a former writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @bscarter

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