If you watched my last episode of Branding the Experience you know I love the late Stephen Covey’s analogy of the emotional bank account. I use it frequently when discussing the relationship a business has with its customers. As Covey used to suggest, sometimes one major grievance, or a series of many small issues, puts the emotional bank account of a business into a negative balance with customers. In the case of a major grievance, a customer can stay “ticked off” for quite some time but I often wondered for how long.
The answer became clearer a while back after a conference when I had a chance to speak with one of the presenters during the networking mixer. The presenter’s topic was branding and when I had a chance to speak with her we discussed our favorite brands. One brand that came up was Marriott. I mentioned how I once was a “raving fan” of Marriott, and once frequently used them as a positive example during some of my seminars. That is until they were responsible for my worst hotel experience ever. That happened in 2005.
Ironically, later that evening during a conversation with my wife she mentioned how she would never buy a BMW from a nearby dealership due to the worst car-shopping experience of her life. That happened in the late 90’s. So how long does “ticked off” last? A pretty darn long time! Don’t let that happen to your brand. Make things right with customers when you can.