Many people take many things very seriously. That is true when it comes to food and it is especially true when that food is chocolate. That is why any chocolate maker must give extremely careful consideration to the customer experience before making changes to the chocolate. Recently Toblerone made that discovery in an unexpected way. The Associated Press reports that Toblerone decided to:

“widen the spaces in some of its triangle-array bars, offering about 10 percent less product for the same price.”

The rationale? You guessed it. As with so many businesses, it was an economic decision. You can only offer the same quantity and quality of a product at a certain price for so long. Without adjusting for the realities of business, you eventually go out of business. Toblerone made the business decision that aligns with staying in business, but the specific solution it enacted was not ideal. It customers were not happy.

That situation suggests two often overlooked perspectives:

  • Whether you know it or not, every business decision eventually affects the customer experience and public relations. Everything about how you choose to do business either works toward keeping you in business or putting you out of business. Customers choose to come and go, directly or indirectly because of your business decisions. Business decisions always translate to the customer experience and public relations.
  • Toblerone could have made a decision that preserves its profitability while simultaneously giving customers what they want. My guess is that Toblerone’s customers (who already love the product) wouldn’t have been the least bit upset if the pricing increased. Customers are smart enough to understand basic economics. Raise the price, keep the shape, and keep your customers! My wife feels violated every time the size of that container of ice cream or any other product decreases with or without a price increase. In her words, “they think I’m that stupid that I won’t notice that? Just increase the price of the container without decreasing its size!”

Let’s give our customers what they want and let’s give our customers more credit. The businesses that know what their customers want and respect their intelligence will keep their customers.

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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