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Too Big To CARE

 Rick’s Law of Customer Service: For each 10% increase in scale, customer service drops 1%.

What I see is the opposite of Too Big To Fail. It’s Too Big To Care.

The two largest institutions I deal with brought this home to me this week. My favorite three-letter telecommunications company told me that because I am a long-standing customer and early adopter of their iPhone plan, I am blocked from using the Face Time feature unless I drop my ‘grandfathered’ data plan.  The reason, I was told by an enthusiastic phone rep after my 4 minute trek through their automated customer service system to reach a real person, was that they were afraid I would quit using their voice service. Thanks for focusing on my needs.

My mega merged bank spent hours with my wife requesting documents to refinance a mortgage. After charging us more for an appraisal than we paid 3 years ago and limiting which appraiser we could use, the appraisal came in at 70% of the last one and was  full of discrepancies. After investigating, I discovered the bank underpays appraisers so they get less effort by their “team” and the bank has turned the appraisal into a profit center.  Thanks for focusing on my needs.

Seth Godin nailed this in his book, “We Are All Weird.” The practice of chasing scale to build profits and barriers to entry is bass ackward.  Chasing service through meeting needs better and deeper builds scale in a viral way.  Hello Zappo’s!

So when your plans show you doubling your business in the next few years, remember Rick’s Law of Customer Service.  If your plans don’t include at least a 10% increase in personal customer service, your plans may turn out to be Too Bad to Succeed!

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