The view that people leave an organisation as an ambassador or as an enemy normal refer to the experience employees have when leaving an organisation, however the view is also relevant for the experience people have when leaving as a customer and it is essential in the social era to go a step further and include the experience people have before they become a customer.
The power of ambassadors and enemies is far greater in the social era where experiences are shared with hundreds of people, so companies that want to have a role in the 21st century needs to ensure every interaction they have with customers and potential customers contributes to creating ambassadors for the organisation.
Creating ambassadors isn’t just about getting it right in the first place but also about engaging and improving when it goes wrong. Strutt & Parker recently decided to add me to their junk mail list and my experience with them showed an organisation that still in the 21st century has a mindset that is far from creating ambassadors or learning from potential customers.
1 – I received postal junk mail from Strutt & Parker
I was not interested in their services so I sent them an email asking to be removed from their mailing list but I never got a response from Strutt & Parker.
2 – More postal junk mail arrives from Strutt & Parker
I was still not interested in their services, so I sent another email asking to be removed from their mailing list. I decided it was time to send a copy to the head office email address found on their web-site. The head office email address resulted in an out of office message. Later a partner confirmed that I wouldn’t receive more mail, followed by a rambling about competitive market and using opportunities.
3 – Even more postal junk mail arrives from Strutt & Parker
I am still not interested in their service so I contacted the head office again. This time I received a mail explaining why I was receiving unwanted material – I asked not to receive further mail, not why I got the mail.
Why did Strutt & Parker not create an ambassador ?
I could have left with this feeling of ‘I should get in touch with Strutt & Parker if I need a service they offer’ – but this is not the feeling I am left with. I am instead left with a picture of an organisation that don’t listen, learn, improve and feel their current approach is justified.
- Silence isn’t creating ambassadors – respond when contacted by potential future customers, even if just be a short mail to confirm removal from the mailing list and an apology for sending unwanted mail. That would have left an impression of a company that actually cared and not just a spammer.
- An out of office email isn’t creating ambassadors – how ridiculous is that for a head office email address.
- Failure to deliver on promise isn’t creating ambassadors and is a wrong approach when a potential customer already is unimpressed
- Don’t justify what a customer is unhappy about – a sorry followed by a justification just say you aren’t sorry and feel it is ok
- Address the customer concern, not something else (I asked not to receive more mails, not why I received mails)
- Don’t blame somebody else (your name is on junk mail, I don’t care if somebody else provided the address you took the decision to post it)
- Learn from the interaction and implement the learning in organisation to improve the experience for other potential ambassadors and show you have listened, learned and how you will improve.
Feedback that doesn’t lead to action is meaningless – to be customer centric customer feedback needs to be linked to action. Will I ever consider Strutt & Parker, not likely. Do I share my unimpressive experience with the organisation, yes. – the power of the social media, the need for organisations to create ambassadors.
- Strutt & Parker tired in best pre social era style to pay themselves out of their screw ups and win an ambassador by saying they would send some voucher (I would have donated them to charity if they had arrived, but they didn’t – I am after decent service not vouchers from companies)
- A funny details, in my 3rd mail I reminded them about my rights under the data protection act, their response showed the mail preferences for me and 3 of my neighbours – Strutt & Parker really don’t get data protection or how to engage with customers.