Sure, strong title. Yeah, maybe I am over dramatic, but let me paint a picture for you. I walk into a mid-grade restaurant. You know the type. The type of restaurant you go for a quick snack, or maybe a few beers with your buddies. Not a night club were there is a high chance of people getting drunk and making poor decisions. You might sit around the bar or outside on a patio. Then after being all friendly with the server and placing your order for your first round of drinks the server says “could I get a card to hold”? The server wants to hold on to your credit card to make sure you do not run out without paying the bill. I am never mad at the server I am sure it is a restaurant policy. By doing that, the restaurant management is telling me: “We don’t trust you to pay your bill, we need insurance”. I translate that to the restaurant telling me to “F-off”.
Imagine you walk into some sort of shopping store and someone greeted you and said “Let me see your wallet, I want to make sure you can really buy something here”. I would call that pretty insulting. Restaurants are doing the same thing. They are insulting you.
I know the restaurant takes the risk of serving you food before you pay. I am asking the restaurant to take all the risk here. Yes, I am sure people dine and dash every year at almost every restaurant. However, I am rather certain that the percentage of people that pay vs. those who try to steal is very inbalanced. I would think I would go as far as estimating that less then 1% of the customers try to steal from the restaurant. A restaurant is telling us ‘we would rather say “we don’t trust you”’ to 99% of their customers instead of just taking the loss on less than 1%. Sounds like greed and not caring about the customer.
I write this rant because in recent weeks I have been studying companies that take a real focus on the customer (or, in the Internet world, on the user), companies with a number one core value of always pleasing the customer. I want to learn as much as I can from these companies. The companies I study which put customers / users above everything else always win. They out perform their peers consistently. These are companies that really strive to have every customer experience with the company be as wonderful as possible.Take Apple, Google, Zappos, Lowes, 37signals, Umpqua Bank, and more as examples. Most of these companies even put making their employees happy above profits too.
I realize focusing on the negative is seldom productive. In an odd way, however, I think highlighting the flaws of companies or industries that have piss-poor, not thought out policies with a negative effect on customers is a good thing. Hopefully we all can learn and not make the same mistakes.
Happy customers often lead to happy profits!