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22 September 2011Faking it

Matthew de Lange

by Matthew de Lange

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made. (Jean Giraudoux)

Sincerity or authenticity ought to be at the heart of customer relations as for employee engagement. Shortly after reading Martin's blog about his restaurant experience I was renewing my breakdown cover ( for the car that is!) with a well known company. I'd been offered free introductory cover by a rival which had sent me scurrying to my current details to see what I was actually paying. I then compared that with what my company was quoting on its website and, despite having been with them for 11 years, my current membership was nearly twice the price, so I rang them.

A very competent agent explained that this was indeed the case and she actually did a very proficient job of explaining that it was only the introductory price (which i would have got 11 years ago (hmm!)) and that after that they would be paying much what I was paying. I explained (very politely) how that made me feel – that they appeared to love new customers and hate loyal customers. At which she said " Oh no. We don't hate our customers. In fact because you're such a nice customer and haven't shouted at me I'll give you a 25% reduction when you renew." Of course, she knows and I now know that she has the discretion to reduce rates by (at least!) 25%.

The authentic answer of course could not be spoken. " We rely on most of our customers just paying the renewal subs quoted and that's where we make most of our profit." But she couldn't tell the truth so she's forced into further insincerity to try and keep my custom. This is the insidious cost to the culture of such business models which seem ubiquitous now in insurance and banking. Not only are they teaching their customers to abandon loyalty but they are teaching their staff that they have to fake sincerity.

How sad

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20 December 2011


So true. Honesty and evyerthing recognized.

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