Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists


Things Companies Should NOT do during a Recession

Friday 7 May 2010

I flag from the outset that I am annoyed, so please read this with a grain of salt and for those of you who know me well, you'll probably understand that getting annoyed is something I do rarely. First up I'd like to thank the company in question for providing me with the energy to write this quick overview that I hope acts as a useful tip for other businesses. Let's start with the first thing your company should NOT do during a recesion - 1. Make it HARDER for your customers to do business with you

I've just rang one of my telecommunication providers because I wanted to query and then pay a bill for one of my mobile broadband accounts.  I'm into my second year with this particular business and for reasons unknown to me, they've gone from Direct Debiting my account to sending me an invoice.  I don't want to pay an invoice - I want everything to be as hassle free as it can be.  Somewhere along the way, this business (let's just say they start with V and no it's not the ones who also fly planes) decided to enter some details in the system that

a)  took me off direct debit and b) gave me a new Date of Birth.

Now I don't know whether they made me younger but when I tried to inquire over the phone, as my REAL date of birth was different from the INCORRECT date of birth I had 'failed' the security question which meant I could get no assistance.  Let's be clear here - I'm trying to PAY MONEY to this business.  Instead I am told I now have to go in person to a V store to rectify the error.

Tip One - do not make it harder for your customers to do business with you - the harder you make it the more likely they'll look elsewhere to spend their money

2.  Do not RIP your customers off, no matter how small an amount

Because I've been shifted from Direct Debit paid in advance to getting an invoice paid (I suspect but don't know) in arrears, this company has to send me a bill.  For that privilege I am also slugged $2 with a small line item 'Fee for paper Bill'.  Now I'm not too sure but this amounts to me like some form of corporate theft.  How can people pay what they owe if they don't know how much they owe? And, given that I never asked to be placed on an Invoice program nor have I been given any options as to how else I might receive the information regarding whatever funds might be owed, this is ludicrous.  It is not the $2 because that is a small amount to me though could be a much bigger penalty for others in the communityespecially as it comes with the additional penalty of GST (another small amount).

So there's couple of tips about what NOT to do in a recession because people talk and when you make it harder for customers to do business with you AND you then rip them off in the process, don't expect glowing reports and expect to harm existing and potentially profitable relationships.  Lift your game Vodafone

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