Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In the Mood, Part 3....

Sorry it's been a while since my last marketing tip. I've been busy on client projects and some surprises I plan to unveil in a couple of weeks.

Let's head back to my bank where my branch manager closed one of my Money Market accounts (rather than waive the bank fees). During this interaction, her staff has been trying to cross sell me while I'm obviously steaming over the fees. Look here for the backstory.

Often customer service people are encouraged (more like forced) to cross-sell customers on every contact -- even if it's during a complaint. The theory: if a complaint is resolved well, a customer may upgrade or buy an add-on from your. But not every problem resolution turns out well. And it's not the best time to sell a customer when they're angry with your company or staff.

My recommended approach requires an added step but will get better results.

Don't try to sell a client anything when resolving a problem. Your job is to be apologetic and responsive. Period.

A day or two after your problem resolution, contact your client to see how they felt about the resolution of the problem.  Focus on the resolution, not the problem. Ask them to rank your responsiveness on a scale of one to six.

If they rate you 3 or lower, ask them what your company could have done better (be sure to separate the company as a whole from the employee). Note their answer and thank them for their input.

If they rate you 4 or over, thank them for their patience with your company while you resolved the issue. Ask is they had any advice to improve the resolution experience. Again note their answer and thank them for their input.

Then comes the opportunity to build your relationship with the customer. Explain that your company is very sorry for the mistake and would like to offer them a discount on a future purchase as your apology. Ask permission to mail or email them a special offer as your thank you for their continued business (like a certificate good for X% off their next purchase).  Then send them a thank you note with the special certificate. (Be sure the offer is not something you offer anyone else.) 

In general , you'll increase your overall customer satisfaction and add to your overall sales.

Meanwhile, Beth and I are going to the bank soon to close out more accounts. I'll let you know how turns out in my next tip.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In The Mood Part 2....

Last tip, my banker offered to close my Money Market account rather
than waive bank fees for a loyal customer of 30 years. But he's too
busy to even close the account, so he escorts me to the branch
manager's office.

The saga continues...

The branch manager shook my hand and offered me a seat.

"So, what is it you need today?" she says smiling.

"Do I have to repeat my story?" I asked. "I thought you were briefed.
Let's just close my business Money Market account."

"OK. Which account is that?" she asked.

I pull out my list of account numbers and again point to the one
I think it is.

"OK. This one?" she asks pointing to her computer monitor.

"No that's my personal Money Market ... No that's not it either ...
Yes, that one," I say guiding her along. She begins the process of
closing my account, then pauses to ask a question...

"Excuse me. Who does your payroll?"

"Your business banker just asked the same thing. What does that got
to do with...?"

Then it dawns on me. They both want to sell me on a new payroll
service. They make a referral fee by pointing me to their partner.
Here I am complaining and they're trying to sell me more junk.

"I'm very happy with my payroll service." I reply.

Then the branch manager notices I have an old business checking account.

"You should be in our new Green Business Checking," she begins. This
entails changing automatic deductions, closing my account, and opening
a new one. More time and hassles than I want to deal with today.

"Listen," I said trying to stifle my anger. "I'm busy. I'll think about
it and get back to you ... on my schedule."

I was not in the mood to buy anything new. Why did they keep trying to
sell me stuff?

The theory is: If a business resolves my problem well I'll have such a
positive feeling about them that I'll want to expand my relationship
with them.

The theory is wrong.

That only works when a business exceeds customer expectations -- like
when the Apple Store fixed my Mac for free on the spot. The bank,
however, did not exceed myexpectations. They didn't even seem to care
about me. They had no time to help me, but plenty of time to sell me
stuff. Why would I consider buying anything today?

Even if they resolved my problem, why would that excite me? They were
my problem. What would suddenly put me in a buying mood?

It is the rare problem resolution that shifts a customers emotion.
Even then, pitching a sale can take the edge off all the positive
feeling. (I bought a new OS from Apple because I was so delighted,
not because anyone asked me to.)

There is an approach that can turn a problem resolution into more

More on that in my next tip...

Takeaway: A dissatisfied customer is rarely in a mood to buy more from you.

In The mood...

Brace yourself for a rant.

It's been a long time since I've been reminded how much I loathe my bank.
But the other day my strong dislike boiled over into absolute hate.

Not that I dislike their tellers who are always friendly and know my
name, or their marketing which is pretty well done. What I hate is their
policies, fees, comparative low rates, and inflexibility. Until now the
hassle of change has outweighed my dislike. But friendly can only go so

It all started when I marched into my bank armed with printouts from
competitors websites and a strong frustration. It ended when I left the bank in a fit of fury.

The business banker escorted me to his desk and offered me a seat. I
explained my issue.

"You charged my Money Market account $10 for not having a minimum balance."

"Which account?" the banker asked.

I handed him a list of about a half dozen accounts I have at the bank and
pointed to the one I though was the one. He rifled through all five of my
accounts before he found the one with the charge.

"Yep. There it is," he said. "What do you want me to do?"

I stared at him like he was from Mars.

"Reverse it." I replied. "And can you set things up so I can avoid it in
the future."

He scanned the screen mumbling.

"Who does your payroll?" He finally asked.

"Does that matter?" I asked. "I have a payroll service. My issue is your
fees, not theirs."

Some more scanning and mumbling.

"We'll it seems you've been with the bank for a while..."

"More than thirty years. Over twenty of those with a business account."

"Let me talk to my branch manager."

I strategically spread my printouts across his desk while he was gone,
displaying bank logos and notes like "no minimum balance," "great
interest rate" and a half dozen other things.

When he returned he offered to close my account.

"I've been with your bank over 30 years, I have multiple business and
personal accounts with you and your solution to this is to close my

"Yes sir," he replied. "It's all I can do."

"I use that account to save money for things like taxes. Do you get that?"
I asked.

"Without the minimum in the account you'll get charged again next month."

"Isn't there anything you can do to overwrite that? Other banks do that,"
I said waving my hand at my printouts.

"I'm sorry," he replied. "I have a conference call in a few minutes. Our
branch manager can help you with this. Would you follow me?"

Guess what I'm thinking at this point?

Just wait. It gets better.

More next time...

Takeaway: A bad product and unhelpful employee can undo the best marketing.

* This account has been compressed and fictionalized for brevity and