I’ve written about good customer service in the past, highlighting my excellent experience with L.L. Bean. I’ve postulated that quality customer service is actually free, because the incremental sales more than make up for “excessive” talk time and refunds/credits granted by your customer service representatives.
Here’s a trivially-observed example of what lousy customer service will cost you. In this example, from Verizon, it’s a minimum of $100.
After lashing out at Verizon and Vonage a little while ago, I thought I’d move on to other topics.
But Verizon can’t help but make simple mistakes in their direct mail efforts. On Friday, I received yet another first-class mailing, this time promoting Verizon’s FiOS Internet service.
Since I’ve now been a triple-play customer for two months and paid two bills for the service, this mailing is slightly redundant. Unlike the last promotion, this one has doesn’t even include a letter signed by an identifiable person. I guess they knew this was so poorly done that nobody wanted to sign it?
Of interest is the fact that the return address for the FiOS Internet service is Annapolis MD, while the TV promotion came out of Irving, TX. This confirms my suspicion that the FiOS product is multiple business units hammered together.
Summary and takeaways
Share your internal customer lists across multiple business units and suppress against those customer files when you are undertaking a promotion.
Always suppress against your transactional/payment database. Your internal marketing databases might not be updated, due to either sloth or neglect, but the department that counts the money always knows who’s paying and who’s not.
For the first time in a long time I took a few minutes to run through the Valpak co-op mailing I received last week.
After a few minutes of looking at the offers, I came up with a short list of things to consider if you’re using Valpak (or other co-ops) as a marketing channel. The short list is powered by my own past experience and might stimulate you to think of some other ideas.
Before I get started, here’s a rundown of what I found inside. There was a total of 43 inserts inside the envelope (which featured, bizarrely, a promotion for the television program CSI: NY on the OE and which distracted me from the 1:50,000 possibility that there might be a check for $100 inside). I sorted the inserts into three categories:
National advertisers (19, 44% of the total). These included Netflix, DirecTV, Verizon, Omaha Steaks and others. Of those, 4 (27%) of the inserts did not use the standard 8 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ format and instead paid additional for a heavier and/or different stock insert.
Regional/franchise (8, 19% of the total). Included here were ads for the local Gold’s Gym, Kaiser Permanente and Molly Maids. Of these, only 1 (12%) of the inserts deviated from the standard insert.
Local advertisers (15, 35% of the total). These ranged from local dentists to home improvement providers to Anthony’s, a restaurant down the street–which included some coupons that might finally get me to take the family there!. Only 1 insert (7%) strayed from the Valpak standard format.
Valpak ran one house insert, promoting an offer of $350 to target 10,000 homes for new advertisers, a CPM of $35.
We can immediately see some ideas, just from this basic sort.