Did you ever have a boss that didn't communicate very much with you? Have you ever dreaded a performance review because you had no idea what was going to transpire?
Someone has been a jerk to you today.
It may have been during your commute, or maybe someone stole your parking space just as you were pulling in.
If you’re like me, just recalling the incident gets you worked up all over again. Your shoulders tense up, your stomach churns, and you think about all the snappy one-liners and responses you could’ve thrown out to put that worthless, snot-nosed barista right in his place.
If you experienced boorish behavior today, you’re not alone. Incivility may not be a growing problem – it’s always been around in some form and always will be – but people are growing sick and tired of it.
The uncivil world presents an opportunity for businesses: be a part of it and suffer the consequences, or be a personable, polite island of peace to customers, who just want to be treated like humans.
Look at the state of business today.
Employees walked out on their jobs in support of an ousted CEO that they really, really liked. There are massive protests on Wall Street (again). The NFL is holding press conferences to apologize for press conferences that weren't apologetic enough.
Clearly, the rules of business have changed. Consumers hold more power than ever before, thanks to the influx of online information and the influence of social media. The way businesses behave is now a central part of buying criteria, and consumers will hit the eject button quickly when shady practices are exposed.
But, there is a bright side to this new world: Once customers find a "nice" business, they'll reward that business with their dollars and loyalty.
I don't just work for a company that operates in the loyalty program space, I'm a huge fan of them myself. I'm attracted to the idea of getting something - points, a "punch," anything - for spending my dollars with a company. Like most people (78% in fact), I'm more likely to pull the trigger on a purchase if I know it'll be recognized somehow.
I'm not in the majority, however, when it comes to redeeming points (just 35% of members redeem points, according to Forrester). I like something for my points, even if it's just a branded beer koozie.
So it was that I found myself on the phone with a national retailer that operates a fairly prominent points program. Looking through their online portal, I noticed I had accumulated enough points to acquire a $50 gift card. Except, the site wouldn't let me redeem my points for that reward. According to the rep on the phone, it seems some of the points I had accumulated during a recent promotion weren't eligible toward the gift card.
Huh? I didn't know rules like that existed, but she told me it was all right there in the fine print of that particular promotion, naturally.
She went on to explain that I could redeem most of my points for a $35 gift card and my "promotional" points for a $5 card, putting me just $10 away from the $50 card I had fallen in love with. Conversely, if I spent a couple hundred bucks in-store that week I could earn points that would actually count toward the $50.
Last year a friend spent an hour telling me about how happy he was with his big screen television. It had a great picture, great apps interface, lots of HDMI ports - things TV geeks love.
This past weekend he bought another TV, though from a different brand than last year's. When I asked him why he switched brands, he provided a simple shrug of his shoulders, pointed at his new TV, and said, "I just thought this one was cool."
Anyone who's ever owned a business or spent any time in a customer service role knows that there are some customers who simply can’t be won over. You can give people a great product at a fair price and responsive service to back it up, and they still might pick a different brand next time simply because it seems like the "cool" thing to do.
If you follow sports at all, you know (and probably loathe) the fairweather fan. You know, the person whose favorite teams tend to closely resemble whoever has been winning championships lately. Despite living nowhere near Seattle or Boston they're replacing a Patriots bumper sticker with a Seahawks one, and swiftly listing their Miami Heat jerseys on eBay in hopes of acquiring some Spurs or Cavaliers gear.
Yeah, that person.
When it comes to sports, no one likes a bandwagon fan.
When it comes to spending money, we are all bandwagon buyers.