The goal [of permission marketing] is to
motivate the consumer to give more and more permission over time.
Over time, the marketer uses the permission he's obtained to
change consumer behavior - that is, get them to say "I do".
[These companies are] building an asset that has nothing to do with brand
and everything to do with their relationship with you.
- Seth Godin
The other day, I used what was advertised to be a "free" service online. The name of the website included "free", the large advertising banners said, "free", and although they asked for my credit card info, I had no reason to expect that this "free" service would cost me almost $30.
After seven days (just long enough for me to forget the "free" service), my card was charged. Unfortunately for this company, I noticed the unexpected charge and, assuming that it was a mistake, called them directly to cheerfully straighten out the misunderstanding.
They told me that at some point along sign up process, I had agreed to this charge. I told them that was a mistake; that I would not have used the service in the first place if I knew there was a high fee. I said that with all of the advertising and the name of the website including the word "free", this was very misleading to anyone visiting the site. No matter what I said, they assured me that their policy was strict and they would not reverse this error.
I do not vent online or seek for vengance through my website (that is why I have not named the company here), but I share this story for a reason:
This company did not understand the concept of permission marketing.
They made $30 and lost the potential for a long-term customer.
While old-school businessmen would say that I should have read the small print more closely, I would point out that business is about building relationships with your customers: giving what was promised, honoring the intent of the customer, and seeking to win a lifelong client rather than a one time surprise charge.
Although I was polite through this whole process, I realized that this policy was part of the company's business plan. They relied on these surprise charges to fund their company. I could not help but write them an email and plead with them to read Permission Marketing by Seth Godin. (It was no longer about my $30.)
Now, let me contrast this experience with my relationship with Chase Bank.
Chase and I go way back. I have had my card stolen on multiple occasions and the moment I call them to inform them my card is stolen, they immediately replace the charges on my account made by the thief. No questions asked.
They ASSUME that I am telling the truth because they have built a relationship with me. To clarify, they ASSUME that I am telling the truth and that is why they have a relationship with me. They can always come back and remove the funds if they feel I have taken advantage of them. But their initial response everytime has been, "We are so sorry this happened to you! Here is your money back. We hope everything works out!"
Another time I was trying to order checks online but, as a millenial who hasn't really used checks before, I could not figure out which of my account numbers were needed. I called into Chase to ask my questions - they were willing to help even though I was not ordering my checks through them. NOT ONLY THAT, but within a day or two, I was surprised to find a letter in which my Chase teller had printed out information on what numbers were needed for my account.
Talk about building a relationship with me. Even though I have been tempted by other banks that give great deals, I stay with Chase because I know they have my back. I have no reason to ever leave them because they have proven to me that they care about me.
Does your online business care more building relationships or making a quick buck?
17 Feb 2016
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