November 27, 2015

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First Mediaworks

02/07/05 Thinking Long Term
I could not decide which handheld device I liked best, so I bought them both. No matter how much I studied the literature and spoke to the salespeople, I could not choose between the new T-Mobile BlackBerry phone and the Sprint Treo 650. Frankly, the salespeople were clueless; the only way I could make a decision was to experiment with both.

Knowing I had 14 days to cancel either service, I spent several days experimenting with each phone. It was a tight race. Both had features I liked and disliked, but I decided to keep the Sprint Treo 650 — which meant I had to cancel my T-Mobile service and return the phone. I expected the cancellation process to be nightmarish, but in the 30-minute encounter, T-Mobile made a friend for life.
When I returned the phone, I was given no grief. When I spoke with a national representative on the phone, it was a joy: “Sorry we could not win your business, Mr. Rhoads. Is there anything we did wrong so we can learn from the experience? Is there anything we can do to keep your business?” I assured them it was not the customer service — it was the phone. If they carried the Treo 650 model phone, I would have preferred T-Mobile over Sprint.

“Mr. Rhoads, what if we end up carrying that phone within the next two weeks while you’re within your cancellation period? When we get this model, may I call you to discuss switching back?” It was friendly, pressure-free and it made me feel important. Man, these people are good. Indeed, they will get my business someday.

I am so used to poor customer service that when I receive good service I become a friend for life. In most typical cancellations I would have been given a hard time and made to feel guilty. The experience would have reinforced my decision to cancel.

Too often sales representatives act like babies when they fail to get an order or receive a cancellation. They try to make people feel as though they have made a bad decision. They often put their entire reputation on the line over one transaction.

We should look at every encounter as a chance to make customers for life. Though they may not buy from us now, the key is to make customers want to buy from us someday. Adversity is the best opportunity to make a positive impression. In adverse situations, the true colors surface and I learn what kind of company I am doing business with.

I guarantee I will jump at the first chance to get a T-Mobile phone account because of the way I was treated when I cancelled my account. I’ve already recommended them to my employees and friends.
What are you like when you don’t get an order? How do you treat a missed buy or a cancellation? If you’re selling like there’s no tomorrow, selling as if this account is important today and not six months or six years from now, you’re probably missing a lot of future opportunities.

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