Have you ever been in one of those situations where you felt that what you are now getting for your money is less than what you used to get before, but you’re still paying the same price, and sometimes a higher price than what you used to pay previously?
It’s kind of difficult to retain respect in those sort of situations, because all of a sudden the way that that business values you as a customer is being put to the test.
How do you feel when those previous benefits that you used to receive are now being streamlined and rationed to you?
Do you remember SUPERFLOSS?
Back in the 1980s, when I graduated as a dentist, there used to be a product called Superfloss that patients could use to clean under their fixed bridgework.
Back in the 1980s this product was magnificent.
It consisted of a thin piece of firm blue plastic which the patient could use to thread through an embrasure area of their bridgework, and then clean away any plaque or debris that may have gathered under that bridge.
Attached to the blue plastic was a good length of regular strong dental floss and attached to the other end of the floss was another good length of soft but bulky cotton “rope” that resembled a pipe cleaner [but without the wire insert], which could be used very effectively for flossing underneath the bridgework.
How times have now changed….
As the years progressed the cotton rope became thinner and thinner and shorter. And so did the floss portion of the Superfloss.
And as for the firm plastic end piece, well it seemed as though the plastic was replaced with the same material they manufacture paper drinking straws out of, because as soon as the plastic came in contact with moisture or saliva and was subject to a micropascal of force, it converted into paper maché and rendered itself almost totally useless.
The change, or the deterioration in the quality of this product was both palpable and sadly demonstrable.
Cotton towelettes or paper towels?
My friends at Qantas have this year replaced their signature cotton towelettes in their forward cabins with coarse paper towels for their premium clients to wipe their faces and hands with in their washrooms.
An obvious cost cutting measure that sticks in the craw of their higher paying passengers, while the company continues to return record annual profits and pays its CEO a disgustingly inflated salary and bonus package.
Did they think their customers wouldn’t notice?
KISS KRUISE VIII.
You know I’m a big fan of the rock band KISS. And every year they have an annual Caribbean Cruise for their fans.
This year was cruise number eight. And my fourth.
In previous years all guests would be able to be photographed with the band.
And although the lining up process to do this was onerous and time consuming, each fan left the KRUISE with a permanent memento that they could proudly display and share that showed they had indeed sailed with the band.
Well this year, in 2018, the band decided that they, the band [KISS], were not going to be doing the photo.
Instead, 2200 passengers have the pleasure of being photographed on the stage where KISS perform their indoor concert.
Oh, and the 2200 fans all receive a set of four plastic KISS guitar pics.
Now I know that for the band members this whole stand-smile-next-repeat process, done over and over for 1500 times, which can take several hours for them, in armour and make-up, can be quite monotonous, and I know that they do certainly give a lot back to their fans in other ways, but once you’ve given something, the simple truth is, that you can’t just simply take it away…. without replacing it with something else of an equal or greater value.
And these were the guys who invented the whole photo-op and perfected the Meet And Greet process.
Don’t Get Me Wrong….
I’m not ungrateful.
Some of the fans on the KRUISE who have been here before, as I have, are also disappointed.
Other fans are simply happy to be cruising the high seas listening to KISS and other great bands for a few days….and everything else is a bonus.
In the same way….
In the same way, there are people with dental bridges who never experienced the grate quality of Superfloss back in the 1980s.
So they don’t know what they haven’t missed.
And there are people who have only just this year started flying with Qantas at the front of their planes, and so have nothing to compare this new experience with, except that it is a whole lot better than flying at the back part of the plane….
And so they don’t know what they haven’t missed….
There will always be your old faithfuls, your old regulars, your true-blue died in the wool raving fans and customers who have been with you from the very start.
And as you shave each corner, as you reinvent your rewards and products with frugality in mind, you better be prepared for some of them to jump ship with each display of meanness.
People won’t mind paying your prices if they feel that you are giving them exceptional service and value.
But as they see you whittle away their benefits and rewards, some of them will get their backs up….and jump ship.
Be very careful.
Don’t let your great systems end up as soggy paper maché.
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