The Dieselgate affair creates a difficult situation for VW customers. They have to decide, if they can trust VW. They have to decide, if they are going to buy another VW in the future. In such moments we can see the power, we as customers have. In the last couple of years I stopped doing business with many companies for various reasons. In this article I will use 2 German companies as examples to illustrate following point. We can decide where we want to spend our money. Thus, we can vote for companies that do a good job!
“I think the people should have a right to boycott whoever they want to boycott without the government making them into criminals and try to protect corporations from people. They should protect people from corporations.” – Ziggy Marley
Nowadays most companies are faceless huge monstrosities. They no longer have our best interest in mind. They only want our money. Customer first was yesterday. Profit first is reality today! We as consumers have the power to change that. We should use that power. Every time a company doesn’t deliver what was promised we have few choices. We can continue doing business with the company. Regardless of the problem. We can stop doing business with the company. We can take our business elsewhere – to the competition. We can become the competition.
Saturn is a German company, selling electronics. May 2013 I needed a new mouse for my computer. I tried to buy it in a Saturn store. I wasn’t sure which to buy and asked an employee for help. He responded unfriendly. After my second question he turned around and walked away. As he walked away he said: “Buy any mouse. I don’t care!” I bought the mouse at a different place. To this day I boycott Saturn. Employees should show customers respect!
O2 is one of Germany’s biggest wireless network providers. Last year I got one of their plans. The plan had a minimum contract period of 2 years. After 6 months I noticed more and more reception problems. As I write this article I have no reception at all. I’m in the middle of Munich and people can’t reach me, because their network is flimsy. Now they advertise an app, which allows you to phone over WiFi. That is shameless. As soon as I can I will change to a wireless network provider who deserves that title. Companies should deliver what they promised.
Rules leading to a boycott.
I used those and other cases to create rules leading to a boycott. Here it is:
Annoyance: e.g. getting phone calls every month asking for feedback.
Poor (Customer) Service: e.g. unfriendly and unhelpful employees
Rude employees: e.g. employees that start a fight because you looked at them
Deceitful methods: e.g. offering a benefit but not mentioning that it goes in with a contract extension
This is my list. It is work in progress. I’m sure it will grow over time. Your list looks probably different. The important thing is that you have a list and use it. Vote with your feet!
“History shows that all protest movements rely on symbols – boycotts, strikes, sit-ins, flags, songs. Symbolic action on whatever scale – from the Montgomery Bus Boycott to wearing a simple wristband – is designed to disrupt our everyday complacency and force people to think.” – Hugh Evans
Ideology can also be a reason to boycott a company. In my rules leading to a boycott, I only listed things that concern direct customers. But, how a company treats customers isn’t the only criteria for a boycott. It is as much important how they treat society, nature, their stuff and so on. For example, the Chairman of Nestle doesn’t believe that water is a human right. I do believe that water is a human right. Thus, I no longer buy Nestle products. I voted with my feet. Your ideological reasons look different from mine. The important thing is that you know yours and act according to them. Vote with your feet!