Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

Step 1 in Marketing

December 17, 2013

MarketingIntegrated marketing communications is an elaborate concoction that requires skill, creativity, understanding, and confidence.  There is no easy 10-step process designed to guarantee results and answer all company problems.  If your marketing plan and company strategy are based off of a collection of step-by-step lists create by gurus and marketing scientists (probably selling $1,000 seminars), please….please back away from the computer.  No one, I repeat, NO ONE out there has a guaranteed quick fix for any of your social media, company, advertising, or marketing needs.  I can tell you this, the best thing, the very best thing you can do for your marketing and for your company is to hire good people.

It sounds basic.  It sounds like a no brainer, but as I progress through my degree program and my “early years” as a marketing professional I can tell you from a marketer’s perspective and a customer’s perspective, too many companies don’t get it.  Last week I had something installed in my office.  I was headed out to a program and couldn’t stay for the entire installation, but prior to leaving the installers admitted the item was damaged and there was debris between the background and plexi cover.  I provided them with tools to help remedy the situation.  I returned from the program (which they attended) to find the following: 1. Dust and drywall on the floor and desk 2. A chip in the corner of the item 3. Tools thrown on my desk haphazardly 4. Three cracks in the plexi cover 5. Uneven edges around the plexi 6. No note.  Now, I was a little surprised because we’ve used these installers in the past and have typically done a great job.  I emailed them asking their thoughts on some improvements that could be made and was shocked at their response.  They committed the worst business act imaginable (OK maybe not worst, but from a customer perspective it’s pretty bad).  They did a sub-par job, knew they did a sub-par job, and they were not going to do anything to fix it until I emailed them.  My jaw dropped.  Since when is it OK to not deliver on a brand promise?

In that same week, I had another issue with my eye doctor.  The experience with them so far had been a bit rocky, but as a marketer I understood they were trying to differentiate themselves from the competition and could cut them a little slack.  I had booked a time to drive an hour and get my new glasses fitted.  I had already talked to two different people and was surprised when I was contacted by a third.  She called to tell me the company that put the new lenses in my glasses broke them.   I called back the next day for clarification and was immediately transferred to a new individual.  The women on the other end explained the situation (which was not as bad as I was lead to believe) and even offered to drive them to a town closer to me so my drive was not as long.  In addition they are fixing the damage and included an additional pair of contacts.  ( I was also having contact issues which lead to me having an extra half of a contact in my eye for three days, but that’s another story.)  Now, the women I spoke with was not required to offer to meet me halfway to deliver my glasses or include an extra pair of contacts, but she did.  She knew that I was disappointed and she cared enough to fix it.  I am willing to bet that there’s no section of the employee manual that says, If you encounter a disappointed customer due to contact and eyeglass issues in the same week and they’re from Whitewater, Wisconsin – please see appendix B.  If that is the case, the HR department has far too much time on their hands.

The take away here is if you hire people that care and like their job, marketing is a whole lot easier.  I’ve encountered people internally that make it difficult to say nice things about a company I have worked for.  I worked there and didn’t want to say nice things because employees treated each other poorly!! Aren’t we all working towards the same goals?  Marketing is not the sole responsibility of the marketing department.  Marketing happens every minute of every day with or without the marketing department.  If you hire good people, they will market the company for you.  Customers and employees will talk about the fantastic experiences they had and that is more valuable than 100 direct mail brochures.

Customer Service is Still Key

March 27, 2013

Customer ServiceIn this new world of communication – text, tweets, chats – some companies are forgetting how important good customer service is to customer loyalty.  In my opinion, one is the offshoot of the other.  Is it really easier to have me chat with you about a problem I am having then call me and do everything you can to solve my issue?  Aren’t you willing to pay a little more for a product or service if you know that if you have a problem it will be easily, quickly resolved?  That is one aspect of brand loyalty.

I worked in the cable business for many years and until recently had service from a company that will remain nameless but is owned partially by NBC Universal…hint, hint.  Despite years of customer complaints their customer service is still lacking in many aspects – representatives that you cannot understand, inane phone trees to get to a department and what I find as a attempt to have all troubleshooting done over the Internet versus the ability to speak to an actual human being.  I will be switching services this week after my wife spent over 4 hours on the phone with them trying to solve a HSD issue…even when we subscribe to their higher end customer troubleshooting service. Plus she was “disconnected” 3 times in the process and had to call back.  Really?   I have no customer loyalty.  It’s pretty sad that we have gone away from the “do whatever it takes to keep a customer mentality.”

On the other hand, I recently bought a a couple of URL’s from GoDaddy.com.  And, while I a not a particular fan of their advertising strategy, their customer care is outstanding.  I had trouble setting up my Outlook Exchange service with one of my URL’s and connect it to my mobile phone.  I called GoDaddy support, got right through and a wonderful young lady spent 2 hours with me troubleshooting, getting answers and instead of putting me on hold for minutes at a time suggested that she call me back after she investigated some of the issues.  And she did, within minutes.  She was outstanding and understood the value to keeping me happy with her company’s service even though it is a commodity and can be purchased in dozen of other places.  Just like cable, HSD and phone services through a cable or satellite provider.  GoDaddy has a customer for life.

To call companies, remember how important good customer service it and how much it helps with brand loyalty.  It cost 2x the amount of money to win me back as it did to get me as a customer in the first place.

Til next time!