The first one it was during a telephone conversation with an international, well known, red, telecommunications company.
Recently I decided that enough was enough with having 4 different companies for the internet, land line, mobile phone and TV, and started to look for a package that would unite all of these services at a good price. I found one, and even thou, I have issues with the company providing them, I thought I will give it a chance. So I bought the pack and ask to transfer all the different services from the 4 different companies into this one. Needless to say the companies that were my previous suppliers got in contact with me in a matter of hours, so far so good.
My previous mobile line supplier (the red one), called me to ask the reason why I was leaving and to offer me a better pack if I stayed with them. I answered very polite but honestly, 2 reasons: one I found a better offer, and second, in all the time I have been with them (10 years) they have never contacted me to see if I needed something, offer me a different plan that suit my user profile better, or just to know my opinion about what could they do to improve their service.
Unfortunately the representative of the company got really angry and defensive, and told me that in a company that big and with so many clients it was impossible to do that. I explained to her that it was no impossible, maybe they did not have the capability, resources & training to do it, but that I actually, work in a company that implements precisely that in much bigger organisations. I do not need to say that her response wasn´t very positive. But that was not the end, after our (her) squabble, she told me: “Well anyway, are you interested in our offer or not?” I almost burst out laughing
What you described is so true about most of the large companies. As they grow quickly acquiring more and more customers, hiring more and more employees, they lose capability of handling and building individual customer relationships. Or maybe they didn’t have it in the first place. It is a lot harder for them to change organizational culture due to its size. For example, one of the companies that Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos.com, a company well-known for its incredible culture) started before he joined Zappos, was called LinkExchange. It started as a very small company, grew up to about 25 people who were extremely motivated to see the company succeed, shared company’s vision and supported one another. The company grew rapidly, hiring pretty much anyone who could work and “had no more than 6 months of jail time” (I didn’t say that, Tony did :-). In less than a year, it got so big that internal culture got completely destroyed as people were joining the company for other reasons than genuine interest, passion or common culture. It definitely effected company’s dynamics and its customers. Even though the company was still making money and was actually bought by Microsoft shortly after, it could not sustain the original culture as it exploded in size. Tony obviously learned the lesson and now it is a completely different story at Zappos.
It´s truth, one´s you became their client, in 0.5 seconds they start to no worry about you or your need, and don´t bother themselves to call us at least ones a year. And when the client changes the company, they can´t understand why!!! It happened to me too when I was closing my bank account two years ago and I told them why but, off course, it was pointless, they still can´t provide me any good reason to stay with them.