The Boomerang Effect
by Beth Terry
Are you making it easy for your customers to do business with you?
The Boomerang Effect. Actions often have unintended consequences. When you give poor
or slow service, it may impact customers in ways you never anticipated. If this impact is
negative, you will lose the customer and send them running to your competitor.
A few months ago I visited an unfamiliar branch of my bank. In a hurry I stopped at the
closest one. After 15 minutes I realized my mistake – the line wasn’t moving. Driving to
another branch would take longer than 10 minutes, so I stayed. After 1/2 hour, I went into the
admin area at the back of the bank and let them know they had a very long, angry line waiting
outside. While there, I had seen over 25 people leave in disgust. I had invested too much time
by now and waited it out. It took me 45 minutes to reach the teller. She apologized, saying
that several people had called in sick.
In line, we got to know each other. The main topic of conversation was another bank that was
offering low monthly fees, free checking and a smaller, more personalized service. The general
consensus was that if this bank couldn’t plan for a busy Monday no matter who was sick, then
maybe it would be a good thing to change banks.
The Boomerang Effect: Because employees called in sick, I was late with other errands. I
arrived at the service station to get my car lubed at 12 noon. Posted on the door was this sign
(with their spelling): “For you’re convenience, customer service is closed every day for lunch
from noon to 1”. I’m not sure where I was when that was voted a convenience. I went to a
I stopped at that station today and discovered they are going out of business. When I asked
why, they told me that business was slow. The last time I was there, 10 people pulled up,
read the “closed for lunch” sign, and chose a competitor. Is business slow? Or did you send
your business away?
Secrets for Happy, Repeat Customers
Pay Attention to the Boomerang Effect
Beth Terry –
© 1989-2004 BethTerry, Pacific Rim Seminars, LLC.
Look for her book, “101 Ways to Make Your Life Easier”
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