Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Customer Alienation

In this age of sharper political conflict, a truly sad consequence is alienation of customers.  Some of this alienation is forced upon a business through a boycott, either because a business has taken a stand of some kind that others find disagreeable or worse, because the business owner is identified as a target because of their ethnicity or gender.

There is another class of alienation that I just don't get.  In this case a business owner (or CEO or other high ranking official) affirmatively drives off customers.  In the cases of which I am aware the rejected customers voted a certain way.  This goes beyond saying, "If you voted that way, you'd best understand we have different values than you, so don't complain".

There is a huge danger here.

Consider that it is hard to win customers.  Proof?  Consider how much money or time we spent promoting, advertising and marketing businesses.  If you spurn a large segment of the marketplace, you're going to have to make it with what's left.  In these political cases some of these businesses are redlining half or more of their prospect base.  And they're doing so when research is showing that quite a few of the remaining prospects don't like those businesses because they're national franchise operations lacking local charm and character.

This is no way to run a business.  Shouldn't this be about serving people with the best product or service?

Bottom Line:  It's hard to build a customer base and easy to destroy one.  Business owners should be leery of putting agendas before customers.  Stay away from toxic messaging!

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