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Consumers 2, Big Corporations 0


It’s times like these (read: major global financial crisis) that companies should know that it’s wiser to cultivate their relationships with existing customers, rather than attempt to isolate them.  Further, ever since the Occupy Wall Street movement has gained sympathizers, it seems like the average US citizen’s voice has been found.  And s/he is not afraid to use it.

Consumer 1, Corporation 0
On September 19th, I received an email from Netflix CEO – Reed Hastings, alerting me of some major company changes. Namely, the renaming their bread and butter – DVD by mail service – to “Qwikster”. 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Netflix Kill[ed]s, its DVD-only business before [its] launch.

The people (customers) had spoken, and in a smart, yet rash decision, Netflix decided to retreat.

Hastings admits now: “In hindsight, it is hard to justify. Having separate brands can in theory make sense. However after the price increase, Qwikster became the symbol of Netflix not listening.”

As of September 14th, NFLX stood at $208.71/share, and today it’s at $80.09.  That’s a 60%+ drop!  Ouch.

Consumer 2, Corporation 0

On November 1, Bank of America announced that they’ve eliminated their plan for [the] $5 debt card fee.  This AFTER backlash from existing customers.

The bank canceled the fee, which would have started in January, after listening “to our customers very closely,” David Darnell, co-chief operating officer, said in a statement today.

As a non-CEO of a publicly traded company, maybe my views are skewed, but I’ve always believed that a company should strive to maintain its relationships with existing customers, regardless of the state of the economy.   Happy customers tell their friends = more customers (that’s the best kind of marketing).

Let’s hope that “third time’s a charm”, isn’t relevant here, and big corporations have taken note.

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