Recently, one of our credit card companies said they were discontinuing a particular rewards card product because it wasn’t worth carrying anymore, and they told us our account would be closed within a month, not providing us with any viable alternatives. We called them, saying we had been loyal and very good customers and would like some similar type of account. Although the rep acknowledged this and said she wished there was something she could do, all she could offer was a card with a crappy rate and average terms.
This is a common scenario in these hard times. When the economy was flush, companies bent over backward and exteneded themselves to reach out to all types of customers. But when the going got tough, these companies couldn’t run away from their B and C customers fast enough. Which tells you a lot about what a company values – money over relationships.
This might work for a quarter or two, but in the end, a company’s brand – and long-term prospects for success – hinge on nurturing and sustaining its relationships with customers. With the damage these shortsighted companies have inflicted upon their brands, they would have been better off rejecting these customers from the get-go if they weren’t an ideal match. But here is the difference between brands built to last and brands built for the moment. The former are built with a purpose beyond money; the latter are built for the sole purpose of making money.