Customer Experience Roundup, November 12, 2019

Trust is paramount to a quality customer experience. To stay loyal and build a relationship, customers have to know they can trust a company to do what it says. This week we saw three stories of companies that have lost their customers’ trust and what they are—or aren’t—doing to recover it.

Airbnb To Spend A Year Checking All Listings

Amid reports of scammers taking advantage of Airbnb renters with questionable listings and dangerous houses, the company recently announced it will start a yearlong project to verify that all listings meet its home and quality standards. Airbnb will check the accuracy of the photos and information posted about each rental, as well as the address of each location. The company will also ban party houses and open a hotline for renters and neighbors to call if a house is breaking the rules.

Airbnb is trying to provide its customers with peace of mind. In the sharing economy, it can be hard to know who to trust and what information is correct, which reflects on the company and overall experience. Although the time and resources to verify each of its listings is staggering, Airbnb realizes the importance of providing its customers with accurate and safe information. Investing in the customer experience to build its credibility and reputation should pay off in the long run.

AT&T Hit With Fine Over Unlimited Data

Millions of AT&T customers paid for “unlimited” data, only to have the company reduce their speeds if they used too much. Now, the FTC is stepping in and fining AT&T $60 million for misleading customers, which will partially refund more than three million customers. The battle has been going on for five years and will finally result in at least some sort of win for affected customers.

It’s a simple concept: customers should get what they paid for and what they believed they were agreeing to. To slow down speeds or cut service to customers who paid for unlimited data is distrustful and wrong. The bait and switch strategy isn’t unique to AT&T, but it is one of the fastest ways to lose customers and tarnish the customer experience.

SAT Company Reportedly Selling Student Data

Most college-bound students take the SAT before applying to schools. The College Board, the company behind the test, is reportedly selling students’ names and personal information to universities, who then use that information to entice more students to apply. The more students apply, the higher a college’s rejection rate and the more exclusive it seems. The deal is a win for all parties involved—except the students, of course—universities can boost their numbers and The College Board gets money from more students re-taking the test to get in to more exclusive colleges

The practice of selling student data just to benefit financially is appalling. It’s one thing for colleges to contact students who would be a good fit, but it’s another thing to take advantage of students taking a test with no intention of actually admitting them. This is especially important considering the increased scrutiny on college admissions and ethics. Students need to be able to trust the tests they’re taking and colleges they’re applying to in order to have a smoother and more positive experience.

Trust is fragile and must be protected. Once it is lost, it’s hard to get back. These stories show how companies can lose trust and the efforts they must go to in order to get it back.

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and the author of two books including The Customer Of The Future: 10 Guiding Principles For Winning Tomorrow’s Business.  Sign up for her weekly customer experience newsletter here.

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