Yes, courtesy is important, but as I waited in line, it occurred to me that there are a couple other C words I'd really like to see from today's businesses. How about some competence and decent customer service?
After all, insincere smiles and tepid I'm sorrys only go so far.
I mean, is it too much to ask that the person waiting on you in any business actually knows a little something about the product he wants you to purchase? Is it too much to expect a real person to answer the phone when you call for assistance? A real person who actually knows how to provide that assistance? It'd also be nice if all the people within a company were on the same page, too, so no matter which of them speaks to you, you're going to get the same exact response every time.
Yeah, I know, pipe dreams.
Alas, I realize businesses are essentially in business to make money. As much as they can, with as little effort as possible. Such rarely seen things as competence and customer service must cost too darned much money, I suppose. Silly me.
On the other hand, businesses DO sometimes use promotional campaigns to reach out to their customers. Carl Sagan said imagination can carry us to worlds that never were? Some companies had imagination out the wazoo when they came up with some of their promotional campaigns. And it definitely took them somewhere. Mostly down.
I gleaned the following information from an article, Biggest Disasters in the History of Marketing, by Evan V. Symon. (And please forgive me for laughing at the misfortunes of these businesses. I know it isn't very courteous of me.)
Tesco and Asda are competing supermarkets in Britain, and earlier this year, Tesco launched a promotion wherein if Asda beat their prices, they would pay the customer twice the difference. It appears the company overestimated their bargain prices, and underestimated the willingness of their customers to extend themselves to save a buck. Savvy customers scoured the two stores for price differentials, shared the information via the Internet and many customers raked in mucho moola, and essentially, free products, to boot. But only for so long. The store now has a twenty pound cap on payments.
In the early '90s, Hoover ran a promo that was up, up and away, the worst promotional ever for a business. They offered two free airline tickets to Europe or the U.S. with the purchase of a vacuum cleaner. Someone within the company evidently thought this would be a good way to sell some of the high end models. After all, people would be getting free tickets. Wouldn't they feel justified in splurging on a better vacuum? Ah, in a word, no. People bought the cheapest models. Lots of 'em. The company lost 500 million pounds in this fiasco.
|This is your Captain speaking ...|
And THIS is the end of this post.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.