good customer service

Insulting customer service and an embarrassing missed opportunity

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Do you watch movies?

I do – and lots of them too. I find movies a good way to give my brain a few hours rest from the reality of life. Sad, I know.

To feed my habit I subscribed to Love Film by post, which is a pretty good service. For just £14.99 a month you get to have three movies out at any time – and as soon as you post them back, you get three more sent to you. I watched 9 films in one week before!

But sadly, and like so many businesses, their good service disappears when you try to cancel.

That’s because you can’t cancel if you have their movies in your possession. But every time I sent them back, they posted me more! And that’s despite me twice confirming my cancellation by telephone.

So I did exactly what you would do. Out of share frustration I cancelled my direct debit payment in the vain hope that would stop them.

But no. Those efficient people at Love Film just kept on posting.

Then I got an email. It confirmed I’d not paid and my subscription was cancelled. But it also confirmed I had three of their movies. They were correct, I did.

At this point, here’s what a smart business would do.

They would ask me some questions that might help them in the future. Maybe:

  • “Why am I leaving?” or;
  • “What did I value about their service?”, maybe even;
  • “Did I find their service convenient?”.

They could have used this opportunity to try to change my mind. An offer or incentive mayAn offer be?

Sadly not. In fact this is what they said:

  • Please note should the discs still be outstanding after that point we will have no option but to pass your details onto our debt collecting agency (CreditLink Accounts Recovery Solutions) for the recovery process.

In case you’re wondering if you read that correctly, you did. They actually threatened me with a debt collection service if I didn’t send my movies back!

That is not just insulting to me – it is shameful on them.

So I sent their movies’ back.

And will never use their service again.

A great example of how not to convert a hot lead into a sale

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Last week I was doing some research for an online training tool I’m developing. I contacted a company that have a very similar product to the one I want – in fact I’m pretty much stealing their idea.

They were very courteous and generous with their information and gave me the contact details of the company that built their tool.

As most folk do these days, the first thing I did was visit their website for more background information. And the website was pretty good as it happens. In fact within about 3 clicks I got the name and number of their Marketing Manager, and on top of that, it also had a big photo of her smiley face too. Next to her face were the words “If you would like to talk to me for a free and no obligation quote please give me a call.

And this is where it all went wrong!

As when I telephoned the Marketing Manager two things happened:

1. Firstly she said to me that nobody at her firm was called the name I’d asked for. After about 30 seconds of confusion I realised something. She was being incredibly sarcastic as I’d pronounced her surname slightly wrong. In my defence she has an unusual surname.

2. To add insult to injury the second thing she did was truly amazing. As she demanded, in a very aggressive tone, that I explain “What on earth I wanted from her as she was busy and where I’d got her details from”. I responded, politely, that I was inquiring to see if she was interested in building me a training tool for my £20k budget. And I quickly followed that up with “But I am no longer interested in talking with you”. I then put the phone down.

If you are in the business of selling things, and most businesses are in one way or another, I suggest you get polite and helpful people to answer your telephone. Not rude ones that lose you sales – and in this case that sale was £20k.

Also, don’t employ people that are so full of their own importance that a conversation with them almost makes you vomit.

Unfortunately such people are common in marketing roles.

Rant over.

Buy 0, get 2 free…Now that’s great customer service

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As most marketing folk know, good customer service is as the very heart of marketing. Even if your actual product is fantastic, if you deliver it in a shoddy manner without much thought for the customer service experience, you’re far less likely to have loyal customers spreading the word about how great you are – which is surely the holy grail of successful business.

A man who clearly understood this concept was Julius Rosenwold, the driving force behind Sears (official name Sears, Roebuck and Co) becoming the worlds largest retailer, who once said: “My ambition is to stand at both sides of the counter at once.”

Another firm who also understand this appears to be Tesco. On Tuesday this week I bought some toothpaste from my local store. The rational for my brand choice was simple: it was buy-one-get-one-free!

However when I checked my receipt on the way out (I had brought some other items too) I realised I had been charged full price for both items. As soon as I complained about this to the very friendly customer services lady, she apologised and said that when such mistakes happen with Tesco’s price scanning technology, both items are free!

To coin a well used strap line, every little helps – and it certainly did in this situation. Tesco, I doth my virtual cap to your customer service!