The customer is always right
16 January 2020 NATASHA JOSEPH
There is a truism to this that spans the ages and there’s good reason for it.
It’s meant to keep brands in check.
I am inspired by this notion, apparently founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge of Selfridges (amongst others). Yet despite this fact, it seems that Selfridges are one of a few premium brands that I am currently quibbling with over a sheer lack of respect for their customers’ concerns.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one passive-aggressively stabbing at my keyboard in the hope that someone will eventually decide to show me a little respect in return for my years of patronage.
But it seems that brands (particularly the more established ones) seem to have grown a little too big for their boots.
They somehow think they’re immune.
There’s a lesson to learn from this time-old phrase. In Germany, it’s “der Kunde ist König” (the customer is king), while the Japanese have the motto, “okyakusama wa kamisama desu”, meaning “the customer is a god.”
Harvard Business Review just published a piece which considers the idea of the ‘The Loyalty Economy’ in great detail. It suggests that brands should keep track of customer loyalty “as rigorously as they track other key assets, such as buildings, machinery, inventory, and marketable securities.” It goes further still to suggest that customer value should be disclosed in annual earnings “so that investors can make informed judgments about company performance”.
This seems like a step in the right direction.
But what if the customer decided to take it just a step further?
Perhaps we could reverse the model of the ‘Customer Loyalty Card’. Turning it on its head, it might be that customers are the ones who award brands with points for loyalty and high service standards.
This would form some sort of metric system that defined success while ensuring real accountability, for both investors and customers.
How great would that be.