“Sit back, relax and continue to enjoy expert service for another year”…what better message could there be regarding renewing a home utilities maintenance contract, especially if you’ve received a good level of cover in those first 12 months?
“There’s nothing you need to do – we’ll do it all for you” promises the letter, referring to the Direct Debit arrangement in place.
Great, I thought…until I turned over the page to find out how much I’d actually be paying! Just the minor matter of a 30% hike in annual charges to deal with! 30%?!?! What exactly for?? Well, as it happens, the four call-outs we’d had had no impact on the premium rise. The standard new customer price has risen 10% year on year…a significant hike already. It then seems that the provider has just decided to add a further 20% for good measure…presumably on the assumption that many people won’t have the time or inclination to call up and discuss it with a customer service provider!
Well, I did, because 30% rate increases are unacceptable! And guess what…they then reduced the price rise by half…still high, but at least more digestible. But why do these companies insist on such underhand and potentially unethical tactics?
From a communications perspective, a strong, clear message is vital to any piece of marketing. And this particular provider achieved that. However, having substance behind the style is absolutely fundamental…an area where this supplier crashed and burned!
Ultimately, if you’re running a marketing or advertising campaign, your customers must have confidence and trust in what you’re telling them. Without that, you’re at risk of alienating brand loyalists and probably losing business.
By Damian Schogger