The Thin Line

Delight DisasterHad two very different brand experiences recently that accentuated my belief that brands especially those in services should tread with extreme care and caution.

Every touch point that a brand whether human or automated has with its consumers/customers should be alive to the fact that every single opportunity with the consumer is a chance to either create magic or misery!

No brand intends to create a bad consumer experience. The reality of course is that things do go wrong. It is in situations like this that the brands are put to test and their mettle tested.

How do you respond when things go wrong?  Do you look to contain, salvage or do you look to convert?

The response could well make the difference between losing a customer forever along with your reputation, getting him to get mildly irritated with you or ensuring that he stays with you for life. We have heard a dozen marketing gurus tell us that customers do give us a second chance and they love a brand that accepts its folly and remedies the situation.

Regardless of the route you adopt there exists a thin line between disaster and delight.


Last month I decided to stop using the services of a cellular operator. I called Customer Care and went through what is expected to be the standard operating procedure for most of the telecom service providers. They immediately swung into action on the retention protocol offering a waiver on some charges, better plans basically everything except the kitchen sink was thrown at me. At a conceptual level it seems to be a good thing. Question I would like to ask here is should it be the same offering regardless of the reason? Anyway, I told them mine which was that the number in my possession was a tertiary number which had been taken for a specific business purpose that had been served. The customer care executive relented and grudgingly put me on to the retention department. The executive went through the same steps all over again including verifying my authenticity and my reason for surrendering my connection and once again grudgingly took my request for processing. It’s been 2 weeks since that call and every single day of these two weeks I have received a call from the operator asking me the same questions and offering me the same benefits. Resultantly, not only am I irritated, I am venting on a forum and will never recommend for anybody to use their services.

Clearly a case of good intentions badly executed resulting in a brand disaster.


Walked into a dine-in pizzeria with my wife and my daughters. We are promptly seated and forgotten about as quickly. We keep calling to a particular table attendant who for some strange reason would refuse to serve (and yes he was assigned to our section). Finally lose it and ask for the manager who promptly descends apologizing profusely and assigns a different attendant. In walks  this guy with a smile empathizes with us, mentions the other guy is having a bad first day at work takes our order. My kids in the meanwhile are getting restless. He comes back with a complimentary snack while we wait for our main order. We are still seething. Barely do we finish the snack that our order is served. The cheque comes with a discount and balloons for the little one!

In fifteen short minutes the initial misery is forgotten. He’s won over my wife with the complimentary snack that eased the restless kids and her nerves, the kids with the balloons and me of course with the discount. Are we going back there? Definitely!



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