I enjoyed reading “Customer Service is Marketing” by Jeff Bernoff in the 10/30/10 edition of Marketing News.
In the article, Jeff shares the story of Heather Armstrong who, when she was due to have a second child, bought a new $1,300 Maytag washing machine. After all, Maytag had established itself as reliable and durable with 40 year’s of advertising featuring the “Maytag repairman” who never had to go on a service call because the machines were so reliable.
Unfortunately, Heather’s Maytag and her Maytag repairman were duds. She called the service department at Maytag Central, part of Whirlpool, and was treated very poorly by the CSR.
What the CSR didn’t know, not that it should have mattered, is that Heather Armstrong has a blog called Dooce with 350,000 followers.
During her call with the Maytag CSR, Heather asks the CSR if she knows what Twitter is because she has more than one million followers on Twitter. The CSR indicates she does know what Twitter is and that it doesn’t matter what Heather tweets on Twitter.
Heather proceeds to tweet, “So that you may not have to suffer like we have: DO NOT EVER BUY A MAYTAG. I repeat: OUR MAYTAG EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN A NIGHTMARE.”
With that post, 40+ years of Maytag advertising has been rendered worthless among several million people.
The lesson, treat your customers like gold. Listen to their concerns. Do everything you can to address their concerns. While you may not be able to transition a dissatisfied customer to a satisfied customer, you may prevent them from destroying years of brand equity.
According to a recent report from Econsultancy, 65% of marketing budgets are allocated to acquisition compared to only 35% that are spent on retention marketing. It would be interesting to know of the 35% spent on retention marketing, how much is spent on training CSRs.
Do you think you should share this story with your CSR’s?