As we approach the middle of January, I wonder how many of us are still keeping those New Year resolutions that we so readily volunteered on the alcohol-induced early hours of New Year’s Day?
One of mine is around common courtesies - saying thank you to my team, to customers, but also to suppliers. We often take it for granted but when you sit back and reflect on the thought and effort that went into the work that ends up on your desk/in your inbox, should you not at least acknowledge it?
I have worked for several major consumer brands in my time. Many savvy customers who get the brush-off from the usual customer service department are prone to writing to the marketing director. Although some chief marketers (or their PAs) just reroute these back to customer services, I see complaints as a great source of free market research.
This has sometimes got me into hot water. Many years ago when I joined a business that was just waking up to the concept of competition, I ran a marketing campaign to the customer base encouraging them to change their method of payment. It generated 500 complaints, not about my mailer or payment but about a whole host of service issues. Given the scale of the post bag, I forwarded them to our customer service team but the next day they all came back with a cover note saying ‘If you hadn’t written to them, they would not have known how to contact us’. So over the next few days I personally responded to each and every one of them and my desire to be a customer champion was born.
But the same is also true of suppliers - I get a dozen cold emails every week from various agencies, printers and data list specialists. I take a look at them and if it is clear that they have written the essence of a personal email, I will respond, explaining why their approach is inappropriate at that time. It doesn’t take me long, but I feel it is fair. So imagine how annoyed I get when that same agency sends me an identical email a week later - clearly disregarding that I have taken the trouble to respond in the first place.
Wed, 6 Feb 2013