Companies, Social Norms and Market Norms

We live in two worlds — one char­ac­ter­ized by social norms and the other by mar­ket exchanges or norms. Ther­fore many of us do not hes­i­tate to work for free but would not do the same work for a few bucks.

Com­pa­nies are try­ing to mar­ket them­selves as social com­pan­ions (=social norms), offer­ing to be the help­ing hand in a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion — typ­i­cal­ly banks, offer­ing the great­est loans. But when the weath­er changes or there is a prob­lem with the offered ser­vice those com­pan­ions turn away faster than you can imag­ine. Com­pa­nies imme­di­ate­ly switch to mar­ket norms by demand­ing fees for use of their helpdesk, declare them­selves being “not respon­si­ble” for the prob­lem, etc.

Why is it that com­pa­nies do not under­stand that the switch from social norms to mar­ket norms is one peo­ple do not approve? Why do com­pa­nies think that cus­tomers would con­done these changed behav­iours and be still sat­is­fied cus­tomers? Is there no con­sul­tan­cy teach­ing that stuff?

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