Category Archives: Customer Service

What You Can Learn from how Costco and Consumer Reports Deal With Quitters

I’ve been simplifying my life, which included a cancellation binge. I cancelled my Consumer Reports subscription, and allowed my Costco membership to lapse.

Deafening Silence

Costco logoI was puzzled that Costco never made any effort to find out why I was no longer a member, and never even acknowledged my departure as a customer. Their emails kept coming, and when I unsubscribed from those there was again a deafening silence.

My experience with Consumer Reports was completely the opposite. I unsubscribed online and was immediately surveyed as to why I was leaving, how they could do better, and whether I’d consider coming back. They even asked if I’d be interested in joining a focus group with fellow ex-subscribers.

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3 Reasons Your Web Site Needs to be Mobile Friendly – and how Google is Forcing Your Hand

More and more people are using mobile devices to access the web. Why does that matter to you?

Your Customers Care

Increasing numbers of your customers use mobile devices, not only to look at information, but to buy things using those devices. For example, 37% of US iPhone Users are Buying via Mobile.

If your site isn’t friendly to mobile devices, your potential customers may go elsewhere. Even existing customers may be tempted by the web sites of your competitors.

Apps Can’t Do Everything

Your web site needs to work with mobile devices. Smaller companies, and those that don’t regularly interact with their customers online via their mobile devices, may not even have an app. People who want to find out more about the company or the products will still need to use your web site, so it had better work well with mobile.

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How Far Would Your Fans Travel to Meet With You?

Anticipation

Before the show, fans were lined-up in the lobby, waiting to trade their tickets for wrist bands. Some fans hoped to snag some of the freebies on the tables outside the exhibit hall.

James Holliday, "Seattle's Captain America"
James Holliday, “Seattle’s Captain America”

The Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show recognized they share an audience with this show and had one of the many tables in the lobby near the registration table. (The very narrow product focus of one of their sponsors, PinballBulbs, caught my attention last year.)

At opening time, when the clock struck 10, the show was still waking up. The check-in line had become blessedly short, some of the vendors were still stocking their racks, and some of the artists hadn’t yet arrived. “Artist Alley” saw the artists (“comic guests“) chatting with the early-arrivers, and some of the media guests didn’t even have lines yet.

The Fans Come Out

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Find a Need and Fill It

I enjoyed reading about the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show, and not just a because of my interest in retro technology. Logo for PinBallBulbs, offering light bulbs for pinball machines at http://www.pinballbulbs.com/I was particularly intrigued by a company listed in the Show Sponsors section. When I saw the logo for PinballBulbs, the lightbulb above my own head lit-up. I was reminded of the rallying cry for sales and marketing people to Find a need and fill it.

Seriously? A company that exists to sell lightbulbs for pinball machines? A bit of investigation confirmed that they specialize in lights and lighting upgrades for pinball machines!

Sharing What You Know

Light bulbs for pinball machines? That’s an awfully narrow niche, but apparently there’s a need for them. I suspect the proprietors didn’t start with a brainstorming session and end up with an inspiration to sell a very specific product into a very specialized market. They were probably already involved with pinball machines and saw the need to replace or upgrade the many light bulbs they contain.

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How Technology Changed our Perception of Security

It used to be that if you needed a security system at home or at the office, you’d call an alarm company. Keypad of a locked Android smart phone

They would provide the full package:

  • Provide and install a security system, complete with a console and sensors and the wires that connected everything
  • Monitor the system from their office, and notify the police or fire department if something bad happened
  • You would enable and disable the system using a key or keypad on the console, but the alarm company took care of the rest

That model served a lot of people for several decades, and there is no shortage of companies offering that kind of service today. (In some markets, you’ll encounter ads for security systems several times daily on radio, TV, and other media.)

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Can Your Company Improve Its Marketing By Giving It Away?

This is a guest post by Mack Collier, author of Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies that Turn Customers into Fans

Rock Star MarketingLet’s consider the marketing for two products you have bought. The first is your latest car. How did that automaker market to you? You probably saw TV commercials, newspaper ads, maybe online ads as well. In other words, likely a very ‘traditional’ marketing model was used by this automaker to connect with you and get your attention.

Now recall the marketing that was used to promote the latest CD or song you bought on iTunes. How did that artist promote themselves to you? Did they use commercials? Probably not. Newspaper ads? Nope. Direct mail? Be serious.

And yet, you bought the rock star’s product, despite the fact that they did little to no direct marketing to you.

The reason why rock stars can sell their products despite the fact that they do little to no ‘traditional’ marketing represents a fundamental difference in the ways that rock stars and most brands market their products.

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