A great example from Orange of adopting Jeff Jarvis’ mantra to ‘Love the customer who hates you.’ Google ‘Orange broadband’ and pretty high up the rankings you will find the forum orangeproblems.co.uk. Rather than see this as a potential threat to the brand’s reputation, Orange brand director, Justin Billingsley, has been smart enough to spot the opportunity. His quote in last week’s Marketing magazine should be pinned to the noticeboard of every wannabe crowd surfer: “We should realise this is a privilege. We can see what the problems are and if we solve it, thousands of people know about it.”
People who are prepared to go to the effort of complaining about your brand or business are worth listening to, not least because for every one that complains, there are probably hundreds, if not thousands of others, with similar complaints but too apathetic or busy to tell you their problems. In the wise words of Jeff Jarvis, “Now don’t get mad at these people. Instead, help them get even with you. For these angry customers are doing you a great favor. They care enough about your product or service to tell you exactly what went wrong. Other customers may just desert you and head to the competition. But these customers are telling you what to fix. Listen to them. Help them. Respond to them. Ask their advice and they’ll give it to you.” This is the philosophy that underpinned Dell’s revival and continues to help Starbucks withstand some of it more serious growth pains.