Monday, October 09, 2006

Everything is marketing.....

"Go Fly a Kite!" my assistant, Pat, said briskly walking into my office.

"Pardon me?" I replied, startled by her comment.

"You just got a package from "Go Fly a Kite," she clarified.

"Open it," I said feeling a surge of excitement.

In the package were two kites to replace the ones Beth and I carefully
worked to place in trees in a nearby park.

I'd emailed the kite maker's customer service department last week
asking them to take pity on me and give me some replacement kites
at a discount. I never expected to get two free kites in return!

Think the company was foolish? Think again.

As a new hobbyist, what kite brand will I buy from now on?

Because I took the time to write them, it was obvious that I was a
serious kite hobbyist and wanted to stay loyal to their brand. Lest
you think I'm a little over-the-top, let me take a moment to explain
how kites have changed since we were kids. A "pro-sumer" kite can
cost anywhere from $20 to $250 a pop! (My kindergartener won't be
flying any $250 kites anytime soon, grant you!)

In college, my marketing prof gave us extra credit for participating in
an experiment. We wrote a letter to a company about a product
costing $10 or less that had failed. His findings? Most companies
responded by sending two replacement products or coupons good for
two replacements. The reason? By overcompensating, they were more
likely to turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.

And don't forget, customer service's main objective is to support your
marketing, to diffuse problems and to smooth over ruffled feathers.
Customer service isn't about the one product at hand but about
protecting the lifetime value of that customer's loyalty.

What's your customer service policy? How do customers respond to it?
What improvements can you make?

-- Phil Sasso

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