The ultimate stress test of your customer culture is when things go wrong for the customer.
The recent cyber-attacks on Australian businesses Optus and Medibank are cases in point. A survey was done of 2,000 Optus telecommunication customers who suffered a privacy breach. The survey found that 56% of current customers answered ‘yes’ when asked if they were considering changing telcos as a direct result of the cyber-attack, while 10% had already left. The customer comments were highly critical of Optus and its communication.
One commented that there had been no direct contact either by email, text or phone and said: “Their handling has been appalling.”
Also, research has found that many customers were paying too much for their phone plans by paying for much more data than they were using.See “Optus customers hang up”, Daily Telegraph.com.au, October 31 2022, page 9.
Optus has apologized publicly, but that is not enough. The lack of an authentic customer-centric culture has shown that customers are not being treated as people and that as an organization they don’t act as if really care.
Not only will there be large compensation costs for Optus to pay but the massive impact longer term is the loss of customers and loss of trust.
One lesson is that if you have not already built a strong customer-centric culture in your business you will suffer in a crisis – by losing customers, trust, revenue, and profit that will require very large investments to rebuild. This is a culture where everyone has some engagement with customers and a mindset that treats customers as individuals and proactively communicates and takes action to help them,
One challenge for many organizations is to really know to what extent that culture exists. Is there a high risk that you can be blindsided, like Optus?
The answer: measure it and then take action to improve if you need to.
Remember: What’s best for the customer is best for your business!Dr Linden Brown, Dr Chris L Brown and Sean Crichton-Browne
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