“Do you know anyone in Togo?”
I picked up the call over 20 years ago on a July 4th afternoon. The voice at the other end of the line belonged to an AT&T customer service representative who’d flagged a series of calls from my number to a tiny country on Africa’s Gold Coast. By going beyond her job description (or contract, or scope), she saved me hundreds of dollars and countless hours spent trying to straighten the mess out. She made my life a little easier.
Brand loyalty isn’t always logical, but it has a long memory. AT&T is an entirely different entity than it was then, but I continue to have an emotional connection with the brand. I told this story to an AT&T call center representative once when I was trying to untangle a bill. I’m not sure they got it.
The market has changed, as have my needs. AT&T long ago laid off the people who did what that woman did. I hope she is happily retired — or teaching companies how to bond with customers for life.
I recently moved into a building served by another provider and got a quick refresher on the bare-knuckles world of the consumer broadband industry: bait and swap, if-you don’t-like-it-take-your-business-somewhere-else. No brand loyalty there.
A friend once critiqued a piece of work I did, “Remember, over deliver and keep ’em coming back for more.”
On whatever scale you’re operating, those are words to the wise.