The numero uno rule of business: Do not mislead customers!
Let’s be realistic here… except for a few exceptions, businesses are in business to make money, and this will always be their primary objective. Making money is fine, as we all need income to survive, what surprises us though is the misleading tactics that some organisations undertake to make a quick sale.
Take for example, Optus Australia. We were recently notified by their customers that Optus’ sales team has been misleading customers regarding the delivery date of the Samsung Galaxy S3. Worse still, customer expectations were not managed by Optus’ customer service team. If the sales team says that the phone will be ready within two business days and it is not (and they are not notified) how is this good business practice?
So to recover from this consumer backlash, what should Optus do in this instance? First, they should apologise for the mistake and issue confirmation regarding the new delivery date. Optus should also advise of what actions have been undertaken to ensure their sales team do not rely upon such misleading methods in the future. An incentive such as a discount on plans would also be beneficial (although knowing a large corporate player like Optus, we doubt that will happen).
Remember, the Australian Consumer Law (read our previous post on this law here) was launched in 2011 to better protect consumers. If you feel that you have been misled by Optus or another business – do not hesitate to contact us. Consumers need to stand up and let organisations know that these tactics are not acceptable.
Another organisation who recently was caught out with misleading advertising is Rydges Hotel/the entertainment book – see if you can spot the issue!
As you can see from the image above, through an electronic direct mail (eDM) Rydges/the entertainment book is advertising that customers can book travel for dates from “29 May until 14 September 2012″. However, only one hotel is valid until 14 September, which is very misleading, especially the section regarding 40% off, as they only provide customers with one month to use it.
So what did this consumer do when they received it? They forwarded it onto Vent2Me and unsubscribed from the email database – this means the organisation cannot contact them again and they have tarnished the reputation of both organisations.
So the rule of the thumb is, when misleading customers you may receive a quick sale initially, but once a customer realises they were intentionally misled, they will not be long term customers of your organisation.
Remember, the 80/20 rule: 80% of profit, is generated by 20% of customers. Therefore: long term customers = higher profitability for your business!
Until next time,
Cents & Sensibility