Home > Branding, Customer Satisfaction > How to Ruin Your Company Brand

How to Ruin Your Company Brand

This is a perfect example of how NOT to treat your customer base, and worse how to exclude your company from future sales.

A client of mine, I will call Client A (CA for short), purchased a very expensive piece of medical equipment from niche manufacturer (MFG for short) several years ago. The device came with an extended warranty; this warranty has now expired. The cost of purchasing a new warranty is not in the clients’ budget. (Renewing the warranty is a third of the cost of the purchase price.)

An explanation about the device and the market is required before continuing. The equipment is an expensive “medical” device used for training, teaching and consultations. It is part of an emerging technology, but more players are entering the market every year. MFG has been the world market leader for several years, but other companies have started making strong inroads into this field and market share. There is a handful of players using this technology and only a few manufactures, but both are growing very quickly. It is a small, international community and word travels fast among users and manufactures.

CA uses this device to help train future technicians and expose them to the new technology. All future technicians from this facility have used the MFG product.

About 6 months ago the equipment started failing. CA called MFG for help. CA is tight on funds (due to the nature of their funding model). MFG said they could attempt to diagnose the problem remotely, but CA would have to agree to their price. CA felt the cost for this service was extremely high (I agree), since there is no guarantee the problem would be found. The session could be made remotely, over the Internet; no one would have to make a trip to the site. The entire session would probably last 30-60 minutes. I even offered to be on-site for free if needed. If the problem could be found, CA could then make a decision about a repair based on cost, time etc. This is a specialized piece of equipment that only MFG can diagnose and repair.

Currently CA is extremely upset and angry over the situation. Worse, CA is expressing their frustrations to that very small niche community they belong too. MFG has an opportunity to keep a past customer happy and turn them into a current customer again. Even more significant, MFG is turning away potential future clients because the users of the CA device will no longer be using and loving it. CA will now have to outsource their needs, and use a different device. CA is already looking at other manufactures to replace this equipment, because of the lack of customer service from MFG. The kicker; one of the ways CA is planning to fund this new equipment, sell the MFG device to the competition, to be reverse engineered.

Please do not misunderstand me; I am a firm believer in paying for services, as long as the fee is reasonable and just. MFG should have stepped up to the plate and offered to diagnose the issue at no cost, to salvage their deteriorating relationship with CA. This would have satisfied CA, even if the unit could not be fixed. More importantly, CA would be spreading the word that MFG did try to help.

Is saving your company brand not worth an hour of your time?

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