Updated: May 21, 2020
Your "Followers" are your future, treat them with disrespect at your peril! There is no Fury as like a Follower Scorned!
As we change as a society, from fast fashion to throw-away, into more Values driven decision making, our relationships with those we interact with not only provide us with our daily needs, they will reflect our own values. Values such as ethics, social responsibility and justice.
"The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" is a non-fiction book by Malcolm Gladwell and is a must for any leader to understand how brands, social movements and epidemics grow, talks about Stickiness, Salesmen, Mavens and Connectors. These all work together to build movements and conversely, when you turn a positive experience into a negative, these forces will upick your business in a matter of moments
A great example of this is Holiday Lettings. Now there are several operators in this market place. Many have built up a loyal "following" over many years by providing homes from home, high quality properties for decerning guests whether it be short term long weekend breaks or a couple of weeks in foreign climes.
When the current appauling Covid-19 pandemic hit hard, the way these companies responded and how they treated their guests, has helped determined their future success or failure.
One operator within days, refunded all guests without questions. Lovely well composed emails where sent to their followers, explaining the situation and confirming full refunds where being processed. They had teams on standby to help their valued guests sort out alternative dates etc. Many rebooked and thanked their "holiday home partner" for such fabulous service. The home-owners are looking forward to welcoming their guests at a future time
A couple of well known names in the industry appeared to take an alternative view. They seems to have decided that their customers would be issued vouchers to be used in the future and no refunds would be given. They thought that a scripted email to those seeking a refund would suffice to make these problem customers go away. When challenged futher, they must have spent quite a bit of time on planning this, decided to blame partners and their home-owners for the lack of refunds.
What they failed to realise that they have not just hacked off a customer, who will just have to like it or lump it, they broke their Followers Values of Honesty, Integrity and Fairness. This unleashed a fury on Feeback sites that killed within weeks the ratings they had build up over many years. One Follower even went to the lengths of tracing all other names that one company trading under and posted it so all their other disgusted followers could add their outrage and vitriol. I very much doubt these companies will be trading in the near future and rightly so for their Followers.
Rightly so, not becaase I think so, but because their followers felt so. When brands and companies gain followers as we have talked about, they are not gaining another customer. They are gaining an individual or group who share and are aligning their own personal values to that of those they are interacting with. Values are at the core of who we are as people and when these are challenged we react very strongly indeed.