Talk is Cheap

January 25, 2008

No matter how many times a company tests a product before it goes to market occasionally something will go wrong. As for making a mistake I believe that customers realize this can happen and are forgiving if apologized to. One of my friends used to call my Mercury Mystique, Mercury’s Mistake. It was recalled an awful lot. I didn’t mind because it was always fixed free of charge and heck, I’d rather go in and get the seatbelt fixed than not have it work. I loved that car. Basically, what happened was yes, the product didn’t hit the showroom floor 100 percent ready to go but Mercury was able to find the mistakes and fix them in a timely manner. They’d mail a letter out each time there was another recall to let me know it was time to come in. When manufacturers admit to their mistakes and fix the products for free they don’t lose customer loyalty. When they try to hide mistakes and not fix them customers find out anyway and are angry because of the deception.


Now let’s take this one step further as discussed in Naked Conversations. Why not use the internet to let customers know when something needs to be fixed? It’s faster than snail mail and when the brakes need to be fixed finding out sooner is better than later. I know many times I’ve found out about recalls by watching the news. This is not a good way to find out that the product you own is not safe. Companies need to take responsibility for their products and have pride in what they create. When we find out by means other than the company directly we suspect that they are trying to hide their mistake even if they aren’t. Slow response time is deadly since there’s always someone out there ready to get the news out especially with citizen journalists waiting with fingers raring to go. They are holding companies accountable even if companies aren’t holding themselves accountable. Forming a perfect plan takes too long and quick response time is a must. Saying nothing is interpreted as saying that the consumer isn’t important. When companies use the internet they can avoid this public relations nightmare. Yes, mistakes might be made while companies scurry to get information out there but the alternative is worse.


The best part about using the internet is that talk is cheap. It costs millions of dollars to get airtime during the Superbowl to sell your product. Setting up a blog costs a whole lot less and can be used for more than 30 seconds. The internet is very economical for companies to use and can reach a broader base. Though it is a great idea to address problems with your product as soon as possible it is also important to have trust. It’s hard to build trust after sending out a defective product. If companies build good will for their products before errors occur consumers are more likely to let a mistake or two slide. When they feel that employees of a company care about the product produced they realize that something faulty was not sent out on purpose with the hopes of it being overlooked. Let’s face it we let our friends get away with a lot more than our enemies. Good will is priceless to the growth of a company and doesn’t have to cost a lot.


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