How To Treat Your Customers Like Human Beings

We usually prefer to help you find out how to be a better consumer, get better service from companies and avoid the myriad traps that dot the shopping landscape. Sometimes, though, it’s not a bad idea to tell companies what they need to do to keep you coming back, which is what Chris Morran did in a guest column published today in AdAge. Our first tip: Stop being such a jerk.

Regular readers of Consumerist won’t be surprised by our advice to the business world. But if any companies actually follow our tips, you’ll be happy with the results. Some of our recommendations:

Always say you’re sorry

Want to know why so many Netflix customers speak glowingly of the video service? Because it shows respect to the people who keep it in business. Receive a broken disc in the mail? There’s no blame game, just a replacement disc. Netflix streaming goes down for a few hours? The company automatically distributes refunds for downtime.

A three-hour outage equates to only a few pennies’ worth of a Netflix subscriber’s monthly fee. But by stepping up and apologizing for a situation most companies would have downplayed, Netflix earns a pile of brownie points.

The golden rule
What all of this boils down to is that most basic of concepts, which keep us (well, most of us) from robbing and murdering each other: Treat others as you wish to be treated. There are billions to be made just from being nicer — or at least not being a jerk.

Of course, if every company in America followed our advice, we might find ourselves out of a job. But we somehow don’t anticipate that happening anytime soon.

Stop Treating Consumers Like Liabilities, Start Treating Them Like People [Advertising Age]