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Should Customers Follow Soft Values?

Posted By Russ Roberts On November 14, 2005 @ 3:16 pm In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

In the previous post [1], I wrote about the role so-called soft values should play in a business’s strategy and management.  What about customers?  Here’s an excerpt from an email I just received from Typepad, the host of this blog, apologizing for disappointing service:

By default, you will receive a credit for 15 free days of TypePad service. To get this credit you don’t have to do anything; we will just credit your account.

That said, we recognize that customers have had different experiences with the service, so we want to give you the opportunity to choose more, or even less compensation. If you click the link below, you’ll get a screen that offers you the following choices:

    •     While the performance issues caused me some inconvenience I mainly found the service acceptable last month.
Give me 15 free days of TypePad.
    •     The performance issues made it very difficult for me to use the service on multiple occasions during the month.
Give me 30 free days of TypePad.
    •     The performance issues affected me greatly, making my experience unacceptable for most of the month.
Give me 45 free days of TypePad.
    •     I really wasn’t affected and feel I got the great service I paid for last month.
Thank you for the offer, but please don’t credit my account.

In my case, there was a little frustration.  There were a couple of times I tried to post and couldn’t.  Or the site was really slow.  So what’s the moral thing to do?  I’m leaning toward the default and taking 15 free days.  But I really like Typepad and overall have been very pleased.  Do I really want a discount?  Do I deserve one?  (The other day I got some coupons from Blockbuster for free rentals.  I threw them away because they were generated by a class action suit I found foolish and unfair.)  Of course it’s easy to be moral when we’re talking about a few dollars.  I wonder how many people will refuse the default of 15 free days and instead waive the rebate.  I wonder how many would if it involved a few hundred dollars.

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