Molson Canada has redeemed itself. Last summer, I entered a contest and was informed, by email, that I had won — on the condition that I answer a skill-testing question. I immediately responded. Two months passed. I emailed several Molson email addresses, including the head of the ad agency responsible for the campaign. Two more months passed. I looked on Molson’s website, but couldn’t find a mailing address. So I used the SEDAR database to find the contact information for Molson’s Chief Marketing Officer. I dashed off a letter and included copies of my past emails.

Bingo. Molson’s CMO responded on Christmas Eve. Shortly thereafter, Molson’s VP of Customer Relationship Marketing contacted me by email and phone. She apologized and explained that the company would do its best to remedy the situation. Today, I received my prize pack by overnight courier. Molson’s sent me five Napster cards, instead of just one. And they threw in a nifty sweatshirt. I’m impressed. Molson turned a negative customer experience into a positive one.

Molson obviously recognizes that an unhappy customer can affect the bottom line. Say a company has 1,000 customers in January 2005. Assume 95 percent of customers are happy, satisfied, or undecided with customer service. If the remaining five percent move on to competitors, the company’s customer base will drop to just 774 by December 2009. Even if the company grew its customer base by 10 percent each year, but still lost five percent of customers, the customer base would drop to 896. Smart companies seek to retain existing customers, because they recognize that it takes more effort and money to acquire new customers.

Although not every customer is worth keeping, it makes sense to listen and respond to most complaints. When a customer takes the time to tell you about a problem, they’re actually doing you a service. You’ve been given a chance to redeem your company, retain a customer, and increase the chances that the customer will tell others about how you responded. More importantly, you’ve been given an opportunity to fix the problem and ensure a better experience for all your customers.

Vancouver Marketing Blog: (c) 2005 by Andrea Coutu. www.Andrea