For the last five years Consumer Reports has issued its “Naughty or Nice” list of companies, which are rated by their consumer-friendly or not-so-friendly policies. It’s strategically issued around Black Friday, as shoppers are particularly vulnerable during the hectic holiday season – which also means it’s a crucial time for brands to up their game. Similarly, in the UK, the Bitterwallet consumer blog brings the customer experience into sharp focus with its self-styled annual customer service death-match.
On the Consumer Reports list we can see some significant brand names; some usual suspects that have a pre-existing reputation for poor customer experience and also those that are known to excel and a few surprise inclusions too.
There’s an array of companies on the list and for broadly different reasons, from JetBlue to Whole Foods; with a wide variety of positive policies, practice and procedure called out, but delivering an excellent and unique customer experience is the clear common theme for those that excel and sit pretty on the ‘Nice’ list.
For example, Esurance is listed on the ‘Nice’ list for enabling its customers to upload photo claims via a mobile app. In addition, Tesla Motors has incorporated technology that sends updates to every vehicle’s telematics system, identifying and activating new features that can enhance driving enjoyment, and also eliminate the need to go to the dealership. And on the ‘Naughty’ list…a major lingerie brand the requires Government issue ID in order to process a simple return or refund – just to spice up your consumer rights, I guess?
To just aggressively discount on price is a race to the bottom…
When research is indicative that 66 per cent of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience, that exceptional customer experience mindset needs to be baked in and readily available even when you go for a base-level differentiator of discounting on price and aggressively so during seasonal sales.
The peak demands of Black Friday; Cyber Monday, Wishlist Wednesday or even Small Business Saturday, can very quickly see the differentiators of price, service and online (over bricks and mortar) rapidly diminish in a catastrophic collapse of customer experience and consumer rights when the systems are not in place to cope with the increased demand. This can only mean a guaranteed inking at the top of the ‘Naughty’ list.
How are you delivering and managing the customer experience at peak consumer periods to ensure you end up on the list you deserve?
Image: Kevin Dooley