Published on: January 14, 2011by Kevin Coupe
Sometimes, brand equity can rest on how you answer the phone.
Case in point. The folks who make Noxzema shaving cream may not have known that when they got a complaint on the phone the other day, the dissatisfied customer was none other than David Letterman.
He told the story on “The Late Show” the other night. he’s been a 40-year user of Noxzema, but has found recently that the consistency had changed and that the cream would not stick to his face. He had one of his assistants call to complain.
This is where the stories diverge a bit. The folks at Alberto-Culver tell the Chicago Sun Times that they offered him a coupon for a new can. “That’s standard procedure when a customer calls with a complaint, and we can’t be certain about what may be the cause of the problem,” a spokesman said.
But Letterman said - on the air, to millions of viewers - that Noxzema said that it was having a nozzle problem.
Here’s the real problem ... and it is only compounded by the fact that Letterman has a soapbox.
You had a four decade user of the product with a complaint. Loyal users can be advocates for a brand, but unhappy customers almost always can wreck a company’s brand equity. Dismissing a complaint so cavalierly only serves to compound the complaint, not solve it. Resolving the complaint - and showing real compassion - serves to reinforce the strength of the brand.
Furthermore, Letterman obviously was a loyal customer who cared enough about the brand to complain, as opposed to just switching to another brand.
So pay attention next time the phone rings. It may be a grousing customer offering you a real opportunity to show how great a company you are, and how strong your brand is.
And that’s our Friday Eye-Opener.
- KC's View: