Wake Up Before It’s Too Late!

On my recent flight home from New York City, I read an interesting article that should be a real eye-opener to anyone in business today. It doesn’t matter what product and/or service you may offer. It was directed to any organization, regardless of size. It was certainly a powerful wake-up call for one and all.

Like most wake-up calls, it was simple, obvious, and right in front of us day in and day out. It was written by a well-known Delaware corporation, 24/7 Wall St., which operates a financial news and opinion firm with content delivered over the Internet. The company’s articles are republished by many of the largest news sites and portals, including Aol’s DailyFinance, MarketWatch, MSNBC, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, Comcast and The Huffington Post. The company publishes more than 50 articles per day and has readers throughout North America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

The article identified “The 10 Most Hated Companies in America” and then explained exactly why each company qualified for such a dubious title. In fact, the article went into great detail in doing so.

I’ll spare you the details, but I would like to share some very obvious common threads that could very well prove critical to your future success. These companies have been around awhile, they’re well known, and have enjoyed success in the past. However, they obviously suffer from a “functional blindness” which prevents them from recognizing obvious shortcomings that have led to the dismay, disappointment, and even hatred of those they chose to serve.

Look over the list as I’m certain you’ll immediately recognize the common threads that are bringing these organizations to their knees and possible extinction. Evaluate your own organization to make certain you haven’t allowed these shortcomings to take root. As you can see, that can be disastrous for even the best companies.

The 10 Most Hated Companies in America

  1. J.C. Penney
    • Identified as one of the great management disasters of the last few years.
    • The company decided to radically change the chain’s pricing policy and sales fell 20% in the first quarter and continued to lose sales at a rapid rate.
    • Customers defected in droves and have complained that J.C. Penney is out of touch with its customers based on radical in-store changes currently on the drawing board.
  2.  Dish Network Corp.
    • Dish’s remarkably poor customer service ratings show up in more than one national survey.
    • Dish further alienated itself from its customers last May when it dropped several channels, including AMC.
    • Employee ratings of their experiences at the company are as terrible of those of its customers.
    • In a recent BusinessWeek story titled “The Meanest Company in America,” former and current employees called the environment created by the company’s founder as a “culture of condescension and distrust.”
    • Employee ratings for Dish is among the worst in an entire Glassdoor survey that covers thousands of companies.
  3. T-Mobile USA
    • T-Mobile is becoming the black sheep of the big four U.S. carriers.
    • T-Mobile’s 4G network in the U.S. is tied with AT&T as the worst in customer service among wireless carriers.
    • The company had an extraordinary net loss of 1,558,000 subscribers in the first three quarters of last year, out of the roughly 33 million it had at the end of 2011. During the same time, AT&T and Verizon Wireless continued to gain customers.
  4. Facebook Inc.
    • Facebook alienated its investors in a particularly public fashion when its IPO dot-com public offering immediately collapsed despite great expectations. From its IPO price of $35, the stock fell to below $20 in less than three months.
    • Facebook has had customer satisfaction issues among its one billion plus members for some time. This comes in part from the company’s continuing user privacy concerns.
    • Facebook is one of the most strongly disliked American companies, beaten out only by three public utilities companies.
  5. Citigroup
    • Last year, Citigroup sacked its CEO, experienced a financial crisis and then fired thousands of workers.
    • That, of course, destroyed employee morale, but the bloodletting was not over. The new CEO said he would fire 11,000 more.
    • Its mishandling of the sale of its Smith Barney unit caused Citi to write down $2.9 billion, and the action triggered a cut in its credit ratings by Moody’s. Such actions did not endear Citi to investors.
    • It is one of the 10 worst companies in America based on customer service.

I’ll share the last five companies with you next week. I hope you noticed the obvious common threads emerging from these very well-known companies … out of touch with customers, poor treatment of employees, alienation of investors, inability to listen, low employee morale, unacceptable culture, etc.

Why is it that so many others have identified these behaviors and reacted to them with negative consequences for the organization? Yet the companies mentioned above can’t or won’t recognize the challenges and take action to correct or eliminate them?

Again, review the behaviors as they apply to your current culture and make the necessary adjustments before it’s too late! Next week, we’ll review RIM Blackberry, American Airlines, Nokia, Sears/Kmart, and Hewlett-Packard.

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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