When Will It Come?

Brown Paper Packages

Seth Godin pointed out today that using a date certain can be very powerful.  Promise something by next Thursday at 10 AM, rather than sometime next week.  This struck me because about two weeks ago I ordered a new backup drive.  Last time I ordered from the same company, my package arrived in two days (without express shipping). This time, I’ve waited two weeks. No exact date given, no updates either.

The excellent service I got the first time led me to expect the same this time.

Imagine if I’d gotten it (I’d be singing their praises).  Instead, I’m wondering where the heck my hard drive is.

Maybe I should start a pool – when will Jodi get her drive?  What’s your best guess?

How to Tell if Your Customer Service is Broken

Broken sanddollar pieces

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A few weeks ago, I got a mysterious package. I thought it was an example of broken marketing, but it turned out to be a delightful surprise.  Yesterday, the broken marketing came back!

I got a call from Canon, saying that they were going to return my broken camera, since I hadn’t responded to their estimate.  I called back, saying, I had in fact told them not to bother (weeks ago).  They insisted they would send it back anyway. In fact, it was “already in shipping.”  There’s nothing they could do.


It’s a waste of postage, energy, cardboard, tape, labels, and someone’s time.  The thing is broken.  I don’t want it. Why send it back?

It’s policy.

Why not take a little time to make people happy instead?  Or come up with a policy that makes sense?  I bet their costs would go down too.

Take a look at what you’re doing.  Since you’re less likely to be a big company (I think!), you probably have fewer policies, but are the policies you do have doing you good? Or your clients?

For example, is there a contact button on your site?  An address?  A phone number?  I spent 10 minutes recently looking for a number on someone’s site.  And when I found it, it was wrong.  Argghhh!

Now, what should I do when that package arrives (bet it won’t fit in my mailbox either).  Maybe I’ll refuse delivery (evil grin).  What do you think?

The Superman Guide to Customer Service

This is an original Superman costume owned by ...

Image via Wikipedia

Hi everybody!! I’m baacckk! (computer meltdown left me in 1950 for a while there).  However, I’m back thanks to some excellent customer service from MacHelpNYC.

Since my last post was about bad service à la Marie Antoinette, I thought this time I’d spotlight an example of excellent service.

Last weekend, after the  blizzard, I was stuck in the 19th century at mom’s house (no power, heat, light, running water, or stove (other than a wood burning one).

Disaster strikes!

I came back, gratefully to the 21st century, only to have my computer go splat on New Year’s Eve.

Fine time to try to get anything fixed.

I called two tech places near me – both closed.  Apple was open, but I would have had to bring my 20″ Imac to the store – down 56 steps to the street, through snow and ice, try to get a cab, and then down their winding staircase (gack!).

Help! Superman!

Then, I remembered that an acquaintance (thanks Adrian Miller – you’re the best) had raved about a guy named Jonathan Zachs from MacHelpNYC.  I called a friend and asked them to look up the number.

Someone called me back a few hours later! I think they might have come that day, but I didn’t want to ruin someone’s holiday. They made an appointment for Monday to come straight here (up all the stairs) and fix it.  If they couldn’t, they promised to bring it to the Apple store!

Superman springs into action

Monday arrived, and I got two phone calls letting me know who would come, their number, and their status (when they ran a bit late). Ben arrived, set up, fixed the problem, recovered my data (yay!!) and promised to follow up on a few odds and ends. He even had a Superman logo as his hard drive icon.


I’m running again, back in the 21st century, and have a brand-new shiny OS too.

Good service is remembered.  It’s even remarkable (worth talking about).

Got any examples of great service?  Share them here.

The Marie Antoinette Guide to Customer Service

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, in coronati...

Image via Wikipedia

There was a blizzard here the other day (seems the weather even made the news in India and New Zealand).  Both New York and Newark (New Jersey) got hit hard. Twenty inches (for us and 24 in Newark (that’s 50 and 60 cm).

Mayor Bloomberg of New York didn’t declare an emergency. The main streets in Manhattan got plowed, but the other boroughs were neglected.  When people complained, he told them to relax, get on the subway and go see a Broadway show.  The mayor of Newark (Cory Booker), sent regular updates via twitter and went out and personally helped people free their cars from the snow.

Same disaster – two different reactions. One mayor channels Marie Antoinette, the other shows himself a man of the people.  When there’s a disaster, or something goes wrong, and people complain, the way you react can make all the difference in how your company and your services are perceived.

Have you heard anything about the two mayors? What did you think?

Does Your Voice Mail System Send Callers to the Twilight Zone?

twilight zone imageMy dad wanted to buy some energy-saving light bulbs. He found a company online that sold light bulbs which were both energy-saving and bright. It was about 4:30 PM and he called the company because he had some questions about the bulbs.

He wanted information, but landed in… The Twilight Zone.

The system had no direct to operator option. The only choice was to spell out the name of the person you wanted to reach. Since he knew nobody there, he started spelling out common names, “Joe, Bob, Steve, until he finally got a name that matched. Of course, he had no idea if this was the CEO or the bookkeeper, but he left a message.

Why make it so hard for people to find you? Sure an option to spell out a name is helpful, but make sure you add “Press 1 for Accounting” or “Press 2 for Sales.”

Make it easy for customers to reach you, and buy your products, and you’re likely to get more sales. That light bulb company just lost one.

Photo: is0b3lpalm3rs0n