Consumers watching closely as values of Corporate America changing – United/Wells Fargo- Starbucks/ABC

July 10, 2018

 

We have so many news nowadays where we get to watch how Corporate America is reacting to some unfortunate events happening at their end. I am sure they had similar challenges in the past but now we are following much more closely how they deal with these difficult situations they are facing.

 

Here are some examples and how they handled the situations: 

 

United Airlines, after having series of horrible incidents happening on their flights from dragging a passenger out of a plane to causing the death of several pets, has not come out in a way that we could all hear that they are making all the changes necessary so that these never ever happen again. Do you trust they took all kinds of precautions and trained their people? It does not look like it from what we heard and what we have not heard. They have great values they share on their website but we do not want them to be only written as a feel-good document. We want to experience that in real life when we fly United. 

 

Wells Fargo had to wait too long to make some statements about their fake accounts situation; how they forced their people to act out of integrity because of the pressure they put on them.  I always care how organizations treat their people as much as they treat me as a customer. They had so many absurd policies at the bank where tellers had to shake your hand (in the flu season) and even ask if they gave a “wonderful service” or not right as soon as our transaction was done. It looked so ridiculous and their employees looked so uncomfortable too. I do not want to work with a bank like that. I care how they treat their people, their community, their partners, everyone. Hope they can do some damage control with their new commercials I see on TV. I saw a guy saying welcome at the supermarket Wells Fargo branch yesterday; those things will not do it. People need a lot of time to build trust again. It is too early to say anything yet. We will be all watching. They have great values on their website too, like "what is right for customers" and "ethics" nice but that is not what many customers experienced so far. Again we need to have integrity with what we say and what we do. 

 

From what I read and followed on media, these two companies have not handled the situations in an authentic way yet, making a good case about what they stand for; what they really value.

 

Starbucks had a bad day when their store in Philadelphia kicked out two men out of their store. Howard Schultz went there immediately took the responsibility before blaming just one person. They closed its stores to have training about racial bias. I still hear they are criticized a lot; before we are so quick to judge, how many times did we see any one taking company-wide precautions so that it never happens again? They are closing down their doors everywhere which means they are going to lose revenue. How many times do we see any leader in any level take full responsibility? They did not blame their employees. They found fault in themselves not to train them enough. Starbucks stayed supportive to their employees so many times in the past too.  They did not get rid of the health insurance for their partners when they were pressured to do so in the financial crisis. They hire veterans and refugees. They opened stores in places like Ferguson and employed underprivileged youth. The simple fact that they call their people "partners", that they match 401K and provide health benefits for part-time workers say a lot about them, They may not be perfect but looking at horrible other examples, I think they are taking better actions and being more authentic about it. 

 

Yesterday ABC said it was cancelling its sitcom ‘Roseanne’ after the television show’s star, Roseanne Barr, made inflammatory tweets about former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said on Twitter shortly after the decision. Deadline reported that the program was the number one show on television among total viewers and among the key 18-49 demographic — ABC’s first number one since 2000. They were OK to let go off the revenue immediately instead of sticking with someone who has offended so many and who does not align with their values. 

So we have our own opinions of what is happening and which company is handling these better than others. I am not trying to convince anyone about who is better. The shift that I see happening is this:

 

Corporate America is realizing we are all watching everything they do as consumers and we do not only care about how they treat us but how they treat everyone- including our planet. Flattering me on a bank line will not do it. We are all getting more conscious about where to spend our money and where to get our services. Especially Millennials and Gen X pay attention to these even more. So please pay attention to being a stand for something bigger than your profit and shareholders. You cannot fake it anymore either. What you say on your purpose/mission/vision pages needs to align with how you operate in the world. Nobody cares if it is written or not, but everybody cares about how they experience you. People are conscious enough to see the difference between genuine care for human beings, being more purposeful and doing stuff just because it looks and sounds nice. Corporate America looking into their values again is imperative these days.

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