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November's Marketing SCENE

Nov 10, 2011

“The Customer Is Always Right — Except When He Isn’t”

We say the customer is always right. But what happens when bad customers co-opt the adage to justify their bad behavior? At least one company “fires” them—to the delight of its good customers.

“Two years ago,” notes Jackie Huba at the Church of the Customer Blog, “we wrote about the best theatre chain in the country: Austin, Texas’ Alamo Drafthouse and how it clearly warns customers to not talk or text during a movie or ‘we’ll kick your ass out.’ (Their actual words.)” One of the chain’s humorous PSAs starred the late Ann Richards—a tough-talking former Texas governor—who forcefully ejected a rowdy audience member onto the sidewalk.

Huba uses her post to highlight Alamo’s latest PSA. It’s built around an irate voicemail from an actual customer who was given the heave-ho for texting during a movie, and features an expletive-laden tirade that illustrates why the policy is necessary and desirable.

“I was not AWARE that I couldn’t text in your theater,” says the customer. “All right? I’ve texted in ALL the other theaters in Austin, and no one ever gave a [expletive] about what me, I [sic] was doing on my [expletive] phone.”

When she finally announces she will never be back, the company doesn’t disguise its pleasure—the PSA replies with this kiss-off: “Thanks for not coming back to the Alamo, texter!”

The Po!nt: If you stop accommodating bad customers, you’ll attract good customers who don’t want to put up with their misbehavior.

Source: Church of the Customer Blog.

Read more here.