Don’t lock your customers

It’s 9.30 am. I arrive in the office, and I can see the panic face of one of my co-w0rkers. “Do you have an iPhone charger?”

Later I learned that he was due to have a critical business call and he forgot to charge his Apple smartphone overnight. He asked around but the people who were in the office at the time, all had Android phones and no iPhone charger.

Apple is an excellent example of a company that locks their clients to their devices. But there are a lot more businesses that secure their customers with software or physical products. A classic example is mobile networks. To me, this is a business decision that shows how little you trust your own customer service skills.

Often when I design a website, I make sure my clients have all the hosting details and administrator passwords. Why? Because I believe if I’m not good enough for my customers they should be free to change supplier.

As a client, when I feel locked into one company, I get frustrated because usually, it comes with lousy customer service and difficulties to move to another supplier. Banks and energy companies are frequently my least favourite sort of industry.

When you lock your customer, your service standard lowers because your effort is on the acquisition, usually neglecting the resources for the current customer base. While if you have to keep your clients happy to keep them engaged, your attitude is different.

This is very generic advice, as sometimes you might need to cover costs, but none the less you must be transparent and honest. Relationships are a thing of two or more people, and you have to be sure that you keep them alive, not oblige them to be kept alive.

What are your thoughts?


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