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.
As I was reading it, I started to think about applying LTV to the methodology. When you think about making decisions based on LTV, the story becomes even more clear. All will be revealed (with a graph!) after the break.
Are the Beijing Olympics headed for an opening ceremony marketing problem? Today’s Wall Street Journal raises the specter of athletes wearing masks to the opening ceremony and causing China to lose face. Other blogs and sources are starting to pick up on this.
What if 10 or 20% of the athletes in the opening ceremony parade walked in wearing face masks to protect themselves from the pollution and, ultimately, their chance at an Olympic medal? What does that say about the Chinese government? Do you want that imagery tied to your brand, after paying tens or hundreds of millions to be the official X of the Games?
Do you have a contingency plan in place? What will you say when images of mask-clad athletes in the murky Beijing air, in front of your expensive banner, are transmitted to the world?
Just a thought and one I haven’t fully wrapped my head around yet. I’d love to hear your thoughts. photo credit: upton
Apple’s .mac service changeover to MobileMe was a complete debacle. The system was down for more or less the day before the iPhone 2.0 launch and for that entire day. If you rely on your .mac account for your email, like a lot of independent consultants and graphic design professionals, that downtime cost you real money.
I’ve got a .mac account for backup and file exchange purposes, so the downtime was more of an annoyance to me than anything. I didn’t expect anything from Apple, except an update telling me that everything was stable and an apology.
To my surprise, I got an email apologizing as well as a free month of service. Smart customer service move by Apple which, like L.L. Bean, knows service. The cost of providing that extra month of service is ~$0 and should easily pay for itself in forgone churn.
But a recent study, carried out by Marketing Management Analytics, Financial Executive and Ed See, makes me think that more senior marketing executives should double-check the shine on their resume and perhaps consider a few more networking lunches in the near future.
A very brief summary of that report found in Ad Age frightens me and brings to mind a few courses of action that you can take today, if you find yourself in a similar situation.
A recent article in the New York Times got me thinking about the psychology of marketing again, and how some basic principles are used or under-used in social media marketing.
“Warning: Habits May Be Good for You” explores how an anthropologist turned to marketing experts from CPG companies like Procter & Gamble to help increase the incidence of hand-washing with soap after using the toilet in the nation of Ghana to improve the health of children. Obviously, this was an important effort and I was encouraged to see marketing practitioners as instrumental in helping achieve success in this endeavor.
As I was reading the article, it struck me that many of the techniques used are found in Robert B. Cialdini‘s classic Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. I’d lent out my copy a few years ago and, thankfully, had to buy a new version which includes an epilogue written by Dr. Cialdini in 2007. My re-read then triggered a few thoughts on social media.
If the social media crowd can stop navel-gazing long enough to do some quick research and scientific work, boy will money be made. [More after the jump.]
What’s the value placed on a social media marketing campaign by the marketers that develop the campaign? It’s hard to tell, because one typically can’t get access to the key metrics associated with the campaign, particularly sales attributed to the effort and ROI.
I was intrigued by a new social push by Sony Ericsson for the Z750a flip phone, created by their agency, Iris. The campaign is titled “Bringing Purple Back.”
Well, neither Sony Ericsson nor Iris would give me any objectives for the campaign. Neither was any information or speculation found on unofficial Sony Ericsson blog sites about the campaign.
Being an inquisitive guy, I decided to use the crude but effective research technique of following the money to learn more.
Ever get email that just makes you wonder who’s minding the shop? I was looking to redeem some My Coke Rewards points for a free T-shirt and couldn’t find anything in my size. I filled out an on-site question and got a response back in 3 minutes.
This was good! Unfortunately it was a response that only told me they were going to respond and triggered some laughter on my part.
The email took me right back to the early days of the first CRM systems and looked like a programmer’s “default” response that nobody at Coke‘s vendor could be bothered to adjust. Well, it’s only been two years since the program launched, so perhaps I need to give them some time.
In all honesty, I truly believe that Coke will put the right sizes back in stock and I’ll be happy. I’ve never had anything other than a good experience with their products and practically marinade in Coke Zero. I just wish they’d read their emails before they sent them out.
Summary and key takeaways
Check all your customer communications by putting yourself in their place. That means log in at home, at night and do the strange and wonderful things that our customers do. See how you respond and see if it makes sense.
Put your customer communications on the wall. The best idea I’ve heard is to set up a room and lay out everything you do to communicate with your customers, in the order in which it’s sent. On the stuff that doesn’t make sense, is off brand strategy or just ugly, tag it with a red sticker. Then start punching through in priority order, particularly the things that hurt conversion or drive down ARPU or unit of sale.
Read my email chain with KO after the jump. photo credit: myuibe