Great Customer Relations Means More than Just Saying “Sorry”

So many companies talk about the importance of their customer relationships, but, in reality, what do they really do when something goes wrong?

Image – Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Facebook.

Insurance provider Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey decided that just saying sorry wasn’t good enough..

In a December 6th letter, Horizon notified 839,000+ customers that their sensitive private information might be at risk including name, social security number, address, date of birth, and insurance identification number.  The reason?  Two company laptops, which were “cable-locked to employee workstations,” were stolen from the headquarters office.

Horizon informed customers “we are not certain that all of this information is accessible,” explaining that the computers were password-protected but unencrypted.  Nevertheless, the company decided to take action, beyond the standard mea culpa and you’re on your own communication: Continue reading

American Express Treats “Service” as a Marketing Differentiator

I thought about the opportunity of capitalizing on every interaction and moving away from being a cost of doing business to being an investment in building relationships.

Jim Bush – Executive Vice President of World Service – American Express

Let’s give Jim Bush a “marketer of the day” award for his mindset on how to leverage the service function to impact the bottom line – via customer engagement and not simple transaction management.

As he declared in a recent Fortune interview:  “We let the customer determine how much time they want to engage. That engagement drives value. We serve customers, not transactions.”

Even if you don’t work in service, adopt an “outside:in” perspective and always consider what you can do to positively impact customers.  It may come as a surprise that the AMEX service team is focused on and considers what it does a company competitive advantage. Continue reading