Sunday, 23 June 2013

How Customer Service Makes Or Breaks Your Company

I don't know if this happens to you but one of the banes of my life is unwanted marketing communications. I really can't be dealing with them and the worst thing is that in the age of the internet they really, truly seem to think that sending me unwanted letters is the best way to get me interested in their products. Hint: it's not.

If that's not bad enough, they've got the nerve to send it to my PO Box address and when I complain (I get charged to have it recycled — I certainly don't want to receive it), some idiot in India responds like this:

Hello Wendy,

Thank you for contacting Vodafone Customer Services.

I understand your concern regarding bill on postal address and we will be happy to assist you.

Wendy, if you wish receive a paper bill on your postal address you will be charged 1.54/per bill cycle in your bill.

Further for me to access your account and help you with your query, please confirm the security details given below:
  • Full name mentioned on account.

  • Account number or mobile number
Any 2 from the following details:
  • Address along with the postcode

  • Last payment amount

  • Total subscriptions on account

  • Date of Birth

Once we will received this, we will be more than happy to help

To know more about our privacy policy you may also click on the link below:

We look forward your reply

Kind Regards,

Rahul Jadhao

to this:
Dear sirs,

please stop sending marketing mail to my PO box  address. I get charged for each unsolicited letter.

I don't want any more so tell your marketing department to stop sending them.

Thanks in advance,

Speaking of "plain and simple," this was the response:
Hello Rahul,

Thank you for contacting Vodafone Customer Services.

I understand your concern about the junk mail delivery. Let me assure you that through this email I will be able to resolve your query to your satisfaction.

I would request you to contact the Telephone Preference Scheme (TPS) is a Government opt-out list - once registered it is illegal to call or send an SMS messages for marketing purposes to customer (it may take 28 days for the calls/messages to stop).

I would request you to register by calling 0845 070 0707 via the web at

I trust the above information would help.

Kind regards,

Viral Patel
Vodafone Customer Services Team
What the? Uh... cognitive dissonance, much? My name is Wendy! The last missive was the icing on the (lack of) customer service cake.

Hello Cockcroft,

Thank you for contacting Vodafone customer services. We understand your concern that you are getting messages from our side and you are charge for the same. In this case, you need to contact your service operator and need to stop all the marketing messages from your service operator. I trust the above information will help you.

Kind regards,

Satyaprakash Tiwari

Vodafone Customer Services
So... are you thinking of outsourcing to India? Seriously, contact Vodafone to complain about something and these blockheads will respond to you in a similar way as they have to me. They actually sent me a survey to fill in. I gave them a piece of my mind. I've also given them all my unwanted bot traffic, so their site is almost certainly receiving a heavier load than usual.

Here are the lessons to be learned from my experience with Vodafone (apart from "never use their 'services'"):

  1. Your potential customers are not obliged to have dealings with you or to receive your communications

  2. Engage: if someone complains, deal with it courteously, quickly and efficiently

  3. Look (or listen) carefully to your customer (actual or potential). What is the thing they really want? If the answer is, "No more messages from you," be willing to accept it. If they're rejecting you, it's because what you offer doesn't meet their needs. Either offer something else or move along.

Get them interested, then get them on board

Tattoo the above headline onto the back of your eyelids if you have to. No amount of raining junk mail on people will get them to want your stuff, they'll only want it if they're interested in it. Getting their interest means getting their attention in the right way. Annoying noise, particularly if it's costing the customer, won't win them over. Suppose you are Vodafone and you want to win people away from a rival cellphone network.

How would you do it? Adwords and featured ads on the internet, including on websites' sidebar ads that feature your selling point would certainly help. Ads on street hoardings may help. Even email campaigns encouraging people to write about their experiences with Vodafone with a view to flattering them and influence people to buy Vodafone may well be the answer. It's certainly something I've tried for some of my trading partners.

What you DON'T do is bombard them with unwanted messages, then ignore them when they complain. Why would you do that? Where would it get you?

My personal sales/promotion philosophy

Give them what THEY want, not what you want them to have, and you will win them over. That's why my tagline is, "Your website — your way." I give my clients what they want the way they want it. I don't chase them, I just make them aware that I'm available and keep in touch in ways they are happy with. For some, it's on social media. For others, it's exchanging chatty emails. Still others want to chat in real life. The idea is not to squeeze more money out of existing customers, but to get them to rave about you so you get more customers. It works for me.

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