When I receive communications from brands that begin with ‘Thank you for being a loyal customer bla bla bla…’, I feel like strangling the copywriter who wrote that opening.
But I am a fellow copywriter too, so perhaps just a smacking will suffice.
If I can’t find Coke, I’d probably drink Pepsi. No Pringles? Yeah okay, Mr. Potato will do. When Maxis sucked, I moved on to Digi.
Like most consumers, I’m hardly loyal. And I’ve repeatedly cheated on the brands that think I am their loyal customer. There is a significant difference between being loyal to a brand and being loyal to something that influences your life such as a loved one.
That difference is called emotion.
Brands try really hard to make an emotional connection with their customers, but often fail miserably. There is just no way for a brand to replace what really matters; like family, friends, career and all other attributes that make up our personality.
So I feel annoyed at the capacity of brands to assume that I am loyal to an entity that is purely after my money. But the truth is:
I am not loyal, I have no choice.
I would end my relationship with you the moment someone offers me a better deal, and as long as I have nothing to lose by moving on.
Yes, the caveat is ‘if I have nothing to lose’. Which is why, mortgages have a ‘lock-in’ period that charges a hefty sum. Also the reason behind why telcos have contracts that impose a penalty upon termination.
And then they have the cheek to call me loyal!
If brand communications were truthful, then that letter would say ‘thank you for not going to our competitor, we really need your money to pay our inflated corporate salaries bla bla bla…’
The thing is I am angry. Yes, angry. Not cheesed-off, neither dissatisfied nor unhappy. I am mad. I created this blog so that I can have an opinion. And have a freaking opinion I will
You know, I wanted this post to be a meaningful, heartfelt review of my online escapades of 2010. About how I made a humble yet determined start to create an online presence, which culminated in this site being listed on Page 1 on Google if you’d searched “Copywriter Malaysia”; for a very brief period that is. But screw that and let’s get down to business.
In my 12 years in the advertising industry, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. And I’ve also seen many more committed by brands, marketers, agencies, advertisers and the like. And among all the mistakes; the biggest most unforgivable sin that a brand or company can make is taking their customers for granted.
And I have recently been given the middle finger by a company/brand that I’ve been loyal to for 12 years.
Ask any direct marketer worth his salt and he will tell you that once you become a customer, you should immediately be put into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programme. And most of the time, it doesn’t take much to keep a customer. A hello once in a while, maybe a small discount for purchase and perhaps a free gift or two; if budget permits of course.
The point is you want to keep your existing customer happy or at least contented. Just to let them know that they are valued for the business they’ve been diligently giving to you. And as long as customers know they enjoy just that little bit more than non-customers, everything should be well and good.
So for 12 years I was a happy camper with Maxis. No real issues or crisis-like situations, I simply got what I paid for. And then one day, I stumbled upon the fact that I was paying RM30 more than new customers for their broadband service. I was surprised and honestly thought that this was a small problem that their customer service will easily fix. Boy was I wrong!
Here’s the gist of the conversation:
Me: Hello, Maxis Customer Service?
MCS: Yes sir, how may I help you?
Me: Well, I’m just wondering why I’m paying the old price of RM98 for 3GB broadband whereas new customers only pay RM68?
MCS: Well, you must be still under contract sir?
Me: No, my contract ended just last month. Correct?
MCS: Yes, sir your contract has ended.
Me: So why am I not enjoying the reduced price of RM68 for the 3GB package?
MCS: Well sir, you purchased the package for RM98, so you will have to pay that amount indefinitely.
Me: What?! Nonsense! Are you telling me that new customers can enjoy the new price but old customers still have to pay the higher price?
MCS: Yes sir.
Me: So what do I have to do to enjoy the RM68 price?
MCS: Well you have to terminate your current broadband account and return the modem. Then register again to enjoy the RM68 price.
Me: (not believing this shit!) Errr… you mean I have to cancel and register for the same thing over again?
MCS: Yes sir, that’s the only way.
Me: Errrr… (WTF!… lost for words, hang up)
If the price of a good or service goes up, I don’t see any company saying “oh, you can still pay the old, prior-to-increase price because you have a contract”. They don’t just make the new customers pay the increased price while the existing customers pay the old, under-contract price. But when the price is reduced, every effort is undertaken to make it difficult for old customers to enjoy the new reduced rates.
We don’t even have to look at this from a marketing, CRM or customer service point of view here; just see it based on freaking common sense! Some of my friends claim that I am a bit of a diva here. They say I should just go to the Maxis Centre and re-register to enjoy the reduced rates. But why the fuck should I? I don’t want to go along with the idiotic process of re-registering for the same bloddy thing because that would make me a bigger idiot.
Maxis is seriously deluded and very arrogant to think that I would succumb to their plain bullying. I think I am going to the Maxis Centre after all, but the re-registering will certainly happen someplace else. Yes, I think I’m going to take my business (Broadband + Principal Mobile Line + 2 Supplementary Lines) elsewhere because loyalty obviously doesn’t matter.
P.S. I gave Maxis close to 3 months to explain themselves, during which time I’ve been letting my RM30 a month go down the drain. After contacting their Customer Service, I recently raised the issue in their Facebook Page (with my name and account number). I have since received no acknowledgement whatsoever… not even a squeak.