Consumer Insights and a Loss of Trust

BP has lost the respect and loyalty of many customers – at least in the U.S. Is there anything they can do to regain that trust?

Harris Teeter just opened a new store in an affluent apartment/condo complex. It’s not doing well. It prices are exorbitant. Cheese that is $9 at Whole Foods is $25 at this Harris Teeter. Is this a pricing mistake? Prices are higher at this location than at others in the city. Perhaps they’re trying to cover the higher rent expense. As a result of this strategy, they’ve already lost a number of customers who were trying the new location and word of their high prices is traveling fast.

The best case of a company making a mistake, or not, and recovering from it is Tylenol. When tampered product was found, Johnson and Johnson, the manufacturer of Tylenol, immediately pulled all product off the shelves and made a public statement. By admitting their product had been tampered with, they earned the respect and trust of customers and non customers alike. Today their business is stronger than ever and Tylenol continues to be a powerful brand in the pain reliever category.

If you make a mistake and admit it, take responsibility, customers and prospects will likely cut you a break.

If you fail to take ownership of the problem and resolve it post-haste, don’t expect to recover so quickly. You may survive but you won’t have the business and positive perceptions you would have had otherwise.

Exxon survived the Valdez oil spill and BP will likely survive the spill in the Gulf of Mexico because of their shear size and the tremendous revenue and profit they generate.

Harris Teeter, as a brand, will survive. I’m not sure this new location will. I’m sure it will not if the prices do not become more competitive.

In the event of a problem with your product or service, take ownership immediately. Do your due diligence and get the problem resolved rather than denying, hiding or blaming someone else.

It may cost you in the short-term, but not doing so will cost you much more in the long-term.

Do you have other examples of companies that have gained or lost the trust of consumers due to action or inaction?


About Insights From Analytics

Integrated marketing professional who generates insights from analytics to increase revenue. Daily blog now resides at
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