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Customer Service: Never let your loyalty make a fool of you

Customer Service: Never let your loyalty make a fool of you

This adage is perfect for any rabid fan of the Dallas Cowboys. Team owner, Jerry Jones, bought this distressed team in 1989 for $140 million. But even before he bought the team, the Dallas Cowboys were already America’s team. That legacy was cemented by the three Super Bowl championships won in quick succession early into Jerry’s ownership. Unfortunately, this early success became the Achilles heel of the Cowboys organization. Jerry, the general manager, to this day, wrongly but stubbornly believes that he was the architect of those championship years. Truth be told, he fired the most popular coach in Cowboys’ history, Tom Landry, and replaced him with Jimmy Johnson. That move, though controversial at the time, was the only move that Jerry ever made that was in the best interest of the Cowboys under his ownership. No matter what Jerry says or feels, it was Jimmy Johnson that was responsible for the success of the Cowboys in the first half of the 90’s. And history bears that out.

Make no mistake, Jerry the owner, is a god-send for this organization. Recent Forbes survey values the team at over $4 billion. So Jerry’s business acumen is undeniable. He was a trailblazer in terms of creating value/wealth for the organization. First, he went rogue by bypassing the league (and its revenue sharing model), and signing his own (lucrative) deals with Pepsi and Miller Lite as the official beverage and beer of the Cowboys, even though the league had deals in place with Coca Cola and Bud Light as the league’s s official cola and beer. Next, Jerry is an advertising guru. He generates large sums of money with his sponsorship deals with many American blue-chip companies. Then there are the additional revenue streams he created in the form of seat licenses, concessions, parking, stadium tours, etc. All in all, each year the Cowboys generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Jerry is a crafty PR pro, too. He is probably the most visible NFL owner. He subscribes to the school of thought that both good and bad news are welcome as long as the news/buzz is about the Cowboys.    

It is, Jerry, the general manager that is the problem. Year after year, since 1995/96, Jerry has put out a product that is mediocre at best (162 wins - 160 losses), and has had only three playoff appearances through the end of the 2015 season. His larger-than-life persona as the owner has overshadowed his decision making process as a general manager: be it hiring coaches; drafting player (that never pan out); or trading away high draft picks for stars that are way past their prime; to gambling on high talent- low character players that bring down the whole team; to handing out big contracts to fat cats that never contribute, Jerry’s finger prints are all over the disaster that is the Cowboys personnel department. So despite being mired in mediocrity for almost two decades, how does one square that with the fact that the Cowboys are either the top or the second most valued franchise in the world?

The answer is simple. It is the loyal minions, umm… I mean the fans that have fueled the explosive growth of the Cowboys brand. The Cowboys fan base is so loyal to its team that despite an average record, for ooh - forever, they seem to buy into the snake-oil salesman that is Jerry Jones, year after year. And Jerry, who has a good pulse on the fan base, lets his team mire in mediocrity because he knows very well that the fan base is in the bag. He knows no matter how bone-headed his personal decisions are, the Cowboy fan base will not protest his decision making. So the charade goes on. Until the fans start expressing their anger through their wallets, there is no motivation for Jerry to change his ways.

This brings me to pose the following question: Why do consumers – be it fans of a team as described above, or customers of goods and services - have such blind loyalty? On a daily basis we hear stories of terrible customer service at companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, DirecTV, Bank of America, Wal-Mart etc. These are not your run-of-the-mill average companies; these are the blue-chip companies of America. So whatever the reason, the above customers flock to these companies; I humbly feel they can do better. There are superior choices available if only these customers can look past the razzle-dazzle advertising of these so called “market-leaders” and instead make a slight departure from their comfort zone by giving a smaller but hungrier competitor a chance at earning their business.   

Image Source: photobucket.com



Last Updated: 2017-10-26 19:40:32

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