Monday, 20 May 2013

Exploiting inertia or ignorance

The business philosophy that exploiting the inertia or ignorance of an existing client is an acceptable, even desirable, practice seems to be well entrenched in the UK.

When the renewal quote for our car insurance came through last week we were surprised that the premium had increased by over 30%. By visiting price comparison website we were able to get a far better deal – indeed the price our existing insurers quoted was almost twice what we ended up paying for exactly the same cover.

It was the same story when we reached the end of the initial 12 month period during which we received an enhanced interest rate on our savings. The rate would then have plummeted but the bank/building society did the absolute minimum that they could get away with to let us know about the change. I am not sure that I would want to support any firm, now or in the future, that treats customers in such an off-hand manner!

It also seems to me that ignoring customer concerns or complaints has become the default position for far too many organisations. Again and again in the finance sections of the weekend papers I read horror stories of major companies claiming to have “no record whatsoever” of receiving any complaints from a dis-satisfied customer. It is my theory that the junior staff who open the post just file incoming complaints in the shredder so as to avoid the need to do anything about resolving the problem. When it comes to raising issues involving company malpractice or even illegality “say nothing – do nothing” seems to be the standard practice.

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