Special offers to new customers only

Businesses need to appreciate and look after their existing customers. Yes, the customers they already have, not just potential customers who may or may not stay with them after the special offer expires.

I have a subscription with a music streaming service. It’s not the cheapest or the most convenient one for me to use, but they pay a higher rate to those who contribute the source material, and this is important to me. I’m not a heavy user of the service, but having it available for when I want to use it, is fantastic.

They recently advertised an offer to new customers of a rather nominal monthly rate for the first three months. Not recognising those who support you and only providing deals to new customers has never sat well with me. I looked on their website to see if there was any kind of offer for existing customers. As there didn’t appear to be any, I decided I might cancel my subscription and think about moving to one of the other service providers whose data does not count against my monthly data limit. When I selected the button to cancel I was provided with a choice to either cancel my service or view a special offer. I selected to view the offer and found I could reduce my current monthly rate by 20% for the next 3 months.

I understand the approach taken by the organisation, but I’m not sure they are being open and fair. They are operating in a highly competitive industry and, as I mentioned earlier, they do pay a higher rate to those providing the source material than other similar service providers, but to bury this special deal in this way seems to undermine my confidence in them. If I ignored the offer and selected cancel, would I have been provided with an even better offer? I will never know, as I accepted the offer.

I prefer to be more open and fair with people. If you offer some of your customers a special deal, you should offer it to all of them, not just those who are prepared to cancel their subscription. If you are open and fair you are likely to find a portion of your customers will not take advantage of the offer anyway.

Banking and customer service

I heard friends talking about a recent visit to one of the top four banks to change the signatory on a social club account. Although an appointment had been made, three club members were kept waiting for over an hour. This was put down to staff shortages. Once a staff member was available, they were surprised at the lengthy and somewhat hap hazard process that followed. After a further 40 minutes or so they left the branch believing the new signatory to the account would be able to initiate and approve payments on the club’s account.

A couple of days later a transaction required approval. When the new signatory logged in to approve the transaction they found they did not have the correct access to approve the payment. This is not an isolated incident. Similar problems have been experienced when the account was originally opened and when other changes of signatory were required. The issues may not have been the same each time, but the result was the same; the signatory could not initiate or approve transactions without further contacting the bank.

Having worked in banking and finance I appreciate maintenance tasks can be involved and time consuming. In this case you need to identify the new signatory in line with legislative requirements and ensure they have authority from the club. They then need to be set up as a customer, be provided with online access and provided with the correct permissions to transact on the account. If the bank gets it right the first time they reduce the cost of providing the service. The bank doesn’t make money from these maintenance tasks, so the process needs to be easily followed by all customer service staff. What is not realised is that if they get it wrong, there is a cost to the bank associated with the word of mouth criticism of the bank.

We all appreciate mistakes happen, but when mistakes happen nearly every time, the process is flawed and needs to be sorted out. One of the banks I worked with spent considerable time documenting these maintenance activities. I recall tabling all the requirements needing to be met for each of the legal entities (individuals, joint account holders, partnerships, companies and associations) and then how the systems were set up for each one. Staff appreciated the easy online access to the instructions through their intranet as they performed the tasks (they didn’t need to rely on memory or ask someone else for assistance). I was pleased when I needed to make a change to a company account and the staff member followed the instructions I had been involved in, to perform the change. They even commented how they appreciated the step by step assistance the instructions provided. This was without even knowing I had a part in developing them.

I believe maintenance processes and their associated instructions should be well documented to reduce the cost of providing these services. Maintenance tasks do not make money, but can cost the organisation dearly if not carried out well. Having to respond to multiple customer enquiries to complete the task is also very costly and frustrating for customers.

Welcome to the Colkea blog

In this blog I plan to cover topics of interest to me.

I hope to post at least monthly, but might post more often if the opportunity arises.

My articles are likely to be critical on occasions, but I will endeavour to provide solutions as many articles I read raise concerns, but fail to provide any thoughts on how they can be resolved.

I hope you enjoy my future posts.