Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Brand Suicide, Communication Strategy, Customer Service, Marketing Fail
For reasons that are too boring to go into, I still maintain my Australian mobile number.
It doesn’t cost me much each month and it’s very easy to manage.
I’ve been doing this for over 10 years and there’s never been an issue.
Then last month I saw that Telstra had decided to double my monthly subscription.
They decided to do this without telling me.
I’d certainly not asked for it and I certainly didn’t want it … but they did it all the same.
Sure, it’s not a huge amount, but that’s not the point.
Here is a company that claims to be customer focused, doubling a long-term clients subscription at a whim.
So I wrote to them to find out what was happening and a few days later, I got this.
Yes, that’s an email telling me they don’t have any answers or solutions for me and – this is the kicker – I hope I find that helpful.
No Telstra, I don’t find that useful.
In fact, I find it insulting, patronising and condescending.
To be honest, it’s the I hope that was helpful comment that I find most distasteful.
Getting an email telling me they were looking into my grievance and would be back to me soon, at least let me feel I was being heard – which, as any councillor will tell you, helps create an atmosphere that is more conducive to a positive outcome – but when they added ‘I hope that was helpful’, they ruined any good will because it just reeked of sarcasm and a complete lack of care.
Maybe that wasn’t their intention, but it sure as hell came across that way.
To be fair to Telstra, maybe they did this simply to prepare me for their ‘proper answer’ that arrived by email a few days later.
On the bright side it didn’t include any blatantly disrespectful language.
But then their ‘answer’ did that for them.
Let’s remember this is a situation caused and yet despite that, they tried to position their behaviour an act of consideration, claiming it was a much better plan for my needs DESPITE THE FACT I DON’T MAKE – OR RECEIVE – ANY CALLS ON THAT NUMBER AND NEVER HAVE FOR TEN BLOODY YEARS.
If they really cared about my needs, they should be recommending I cancel my plan, not double down on it.
Why couldn’t they just say they fucked up?
Why couldn’t they have said they were going to put things back to as it was?
Why couldn’t they have just left things alone?
I know why … because they thought they could make a few extra bucks with minimal effort and if they do that to enough people who don’t notice – or think arguing is too much hassle – they can boost their revenues without any effort.
For over a decade I had no beef with Telstra. In one email, they fucked that all up.
Ironically, it’s not because they screwed me over – we all make mistakes – it’s because they then didn’t take responsibility for it.
My attitude towards them has gone from ‘idiots’ to ‘liars’ and my relationship has gone from ‘customer’ to ‘ex-customer’.
I’ve said it many times, that getting someone to buy is relatively easy, but loyalty gets built by how you act after you’ve got the money.
The problem starts when companies view customer service as a rigid, automated and one-size-fits-all process.
I get that you need to have systems in place to manage this sort of thing, but when it delivers solutions tailored to the benefit of the company rather than to the individual, then it’s more of a customer disservice process than something built to develop trust, loyalty and mutual satisfaction.
And that’s where Telstra went wrong, because at no point did they want to help me.
They may claim they wanted to … they may run ads that say they want to … but as the old adage goes, actions speaks louder than words.
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