If you love someone, set them free. Do your policies set free your customers and your employees? Policies are designed to protect, but sometimes they disintegrate — rather than protect — customer relationships. And customers’ mistrust of companies propels regulations, protests and negative word-of-mouth. It’s a two-way street, so if you want your customers to trust and love your brand, show them you trust them and your employees as well.
Southwest Airlines is an outstanding example of rising above industry norms, charting its own course, and vowing to win customers’ hearts and customers’ cash through policies that set them free. Southwest mirrors these high-trust customer policies with equally trustful employee policies. Customer policies and employee policies go hand-in-hand.
Southwest’s favorable policies have propelled their growth. Unlike many of its competitors, Southwest has been profitable each of the last 10 years, with 4 consecutive years of profit growth between 50%-100%. Its stock price increased 120% in 10 years. Heather Figallo, Southwest’s Senior Director of Innovation & Labs, said the company is the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.
That’s an example of customer experience policies that empower growth.
Customer experience policies are formal rules that govern product returns, changes, warranties, refunds and information and resource access — and they’re informal actions the company takes — and they’re the degree of ease for employees to do their jobs well.
Customers trust businesses based on how well they treat employees, the quality level of products and services, how well they listen to customers, whether they pay their fair share of taxes, and how well they conform to ethical business practices, according to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer.
Businesses must try harder presently to earn customers’ trust, according to the Edelman study. We’re now in a trust crisis globally, with a high percentage of people losing faith in “the system” (government, non-government organizations, media and businesses).
Policies — formal and informal — have never been so important as they are today. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed all-time lows in businesses on every continent, with significant year-to-year decreases for many countries’ businesses.
Exclusions, caveats, change fees, extensive fine print, loyalty program changes, warranty limitations, extra steps (hassles), long-term (e.g. 1-year, 2-year) agreements, product discontinuations, fines, new fees for previously bundled services, abrupt product changes, and many other penalties are the norm in several industries.
These are examples of bad profits, as described by Fred Reichheld in his book, The Ultimate Question:
“Whenever a customer feels mis-led, mistreated, ignored, or coerced, then profits from that customer are bad. Bad profits come from unfair or misleading pricing. Bad profits arise when companies save money by delivering a lousy customer experience. Bad profits are about extracting value from customers, not creating value. When sales reps push overpriced or inappropriate products onto trusting customers, the reps are generating bad profits. Bad profits provide a distorted picture of business performance. The distortion misleads investors, yielding Go to the full article.
Source:: Business 2 Community