Apr 2, 2012

Customer service no-no's

I was in a meeting last week with a new client – we were discussing how the administrative staff might deal with incoming calls. The CEO remarked “let’s take that offline, it has nothing to do with marketing.” This person really doesn’t like me, so at first I thought he had read my latest brand rant but then I realized he was 100% serious. So what’s up with this disconnect between marketing and customer service? I’ve got some ideas about it. Love to hear yours!

  1. Lots of marketing people have never worked in sales. I started out carrying a bag and I know what it’s like when you have to actually face an unhappy customer. Marketing people may never have had to look that mad guy or gal in the face and apologize. I’ve had managers yell at me, papers tossed across the desk at me…it’s humiliating and I’ll avoid it at all costs. A marketing person who has never sat through one of those meetings probably thinks their job ends when the campaign goes out.
  2. Lots of people who buy franchises have never work in front of customers. I remember a former IBM engineer who didn’t have time for an interview because he was painting the break room and office at his dry cleaning business. And the guy who owns a window washing service who acted as though I was being unreasonable for not wanting his workers, who had arrived 3 hours late, to go to lunch after being there 30 minutes. If you haven’t experienced customer interaction at the consumer level, it’s usually hard to stomach complaints.
  3. Sometimes the head of the organization comes out of operations, where process is king. This person doesn’t understand that unhappy customers can kill your brand. They believe a process can cure every problem. And they REALLY don’t understand how social media can accelerate that bad word of mouth.
One of the first things I learned as a rookie salesperson was the old adage “It takes hours to get a new customer and only minutes to lose an old one.” Those owners and managers who don’t put customer service as one of the top factors in building a brand are the ones that lose their business in the long run.
Found a couple more great blog posts on this: 8 Rules of Customer Service and How to Lose a Customer in 10 Seconds or Less
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16 comments on “Customer service no-no's”

  1. EVERYONE in a company should have to work sales. Everyone should have to look a customer in the eyes at some point in their career with a company, sooner than later.

    I used to sell exercise bicycles to paralyzed people (true!) I was the marketing, the sales AND the customer support. These things cost upwards of $20,000 in the mid ’90s (paid up-front, no refunds) and many of my customers used their settlement money to buy them. If I felt at any time the engineers in the back room were not going to stand by me when I needed to satisfy a customer when something failed on them, I would not have been able to sell them for very long. And those heated “conversations” with those engineers took place from time to time…

    In a very small company, it is easier to see customer service as being marketing. For a larger one, not so much… and when companies off-load their customer support to a call center, it is entirely detached… like my bank, who can’t see why a typo on my mailing address erodes trust in every other thing they touch with my accounts….

    April 3rd, 2012 at 2:30 am

  2. That adage should be plastered across every single customer service office in the world.

    “It takes hours to get a new customer and only minutes to lose an old one.”

    Brilliant

    April 3rd, 2012 at 9:16 am

  3. Rufus you are SO right. I went in to sales because my big sister told me if I knew how to sell, I’d always be able to find a job. But I learned so much from being a salesperson…I use it every day.

    Andy, we should change it to ….seconds to lose an old one. It only takes seconds these days!!

    April 3rd, 2012 at 9:20 am

  4. Businesses should keep in mind that customers are the life blood of all business and it is very important to take care of them.

    April 3rd, 2012 at 10:51 am

  5. The best thing that they can do first is to make their products good so that their customers can spread the news and then they can be popular in no time.

    April 3rd, 2012 at 11:40 pm

  6. Yes, I really wish people from marketing know that whatever they tell the customers, that’s what they expect. And when it falls short, who’s facing unhappy customers? Not them, obviously. Especially now with social media, it can be overwhelming!

    April 3rd, 2012 at 11:45 pm

  7. The customer should always come first! It’s essential in any business.

    April 4th, 2012 at 1:44 pm

  8. I agree with Fazer. Customer service is most important things for any kinds of business. If you are business owner then you should provide good quality of customer service, to grow your business fast.

    Thanks with Regards,
    Seoexp @ Hosting

    April 8th, 2012 at 5:13 am

  9. Customer service is the lifeblood of most businesses. Employees look to executives and managers for behavior cues. I’ve seen departments in the same company act differently, because employees are modeling the behavior of different managers.

    One way to set the expectation that your team will respect customers is by carefully choosing how you refer to clients (especially during the times when the relationship may be rocky). There’s been a growing trend at companies including banks, retailers and even manufacturers to follow Disney’s pioneering lead by referring to their customers as guests.

    April 13th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

  10. Certainly a fantastic piece of work … It has relevant information. No doubt this post impressed me very much as I wasn’t aware of some of the info that you mentioned so I want to just say thank you.

    April 14th, 2012 at 3:57 am

  11. marketing mix…

    [...]The connection between customer service and marketing | Wax Blog[...]…

    April 16th, 2012 at 3:29 am

  12. Agreed. The business is in business because of the customer! That is why it started and that is why it is still operating. When process and procedure lead decisions then the mission and vision start to get out of balance. Good article :)

    April 19th, 2012 at 6:38 am

  13. Yes, business customers, but because not everyone can make a lot of customers.
    Want to earn customers; it needs to do a good job marketing their products.
    So how to market well and fast?
    I am a new to the business and I’ve found a really useful part ich.do is “free submission to Google” http://www.visubmitter.com/.
    This software can help us posting on high ranking sites with links to our website.
    Google will turn to us whenever customers search for products similar to yours.

    April 23rd, 2012 at 8:03 pm

  14. Yes agree with your point of view that customers priority should be kept at the topmost.If you are marketing your brand and can’t satisfied customers then it is worthless to have a brand,,,because customers makes a brand neither brand makes the customers at initial.

    May 1st, 2012 at 4:16 am

  15. You are definitely correct! I am agree with you. Customers should be your priority.

    May 4th, 2012 at 7:23 am

  16. Amazing Phrase!

    “It takes hours to get a new customer and only minutes to lose an old one.”

    Totally agree with you! Costumers should be the priority!

    May 28th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

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