Magazine article Marketing

Customer Service Is More Than Just Doing It by the Book

Magazine article Marketing

Customer Service Is More Than Just Doing It by the Book

Article excerpt

If you went into an IBM office 20 years ago there was every chance you would see on the wall a plaque bearing the company motto: Think. At some point IBM forgot this admirable injunction and got into a fearful mess. They seem to be climbing out again, so perhaps the signs have reappeared; but why on earth do so few marketers think beyond the obvious?

Take 'Books, Etc.' It cheered me up no end about a year ago by advertising that if you didn't like a book you bought there, it would give you your money back without question. How obliging - and smart, I thought. I devour books by the yard, since I find lots of ideas to steal, and I transferred most of my business to its Queensway branch.

When my daughter, bless her, recently bought me Wild Swans, which I had already read, I agreed with my strategic adviser, Denise, that they were the people to see. I entered with sprightly step, looking forward to exchanging that book and buying a couple more. The girl at the cash-desk said pleasantly but apologetically: "They're getting a bit tight on that sort of thing" and hailed a smug young twerp - the manager, I fear - who said "Sorry" with what seemed uncannily like relish. He couldn't help because it was against their policy: the book was bought in Manchester, where they had no branches.

I said, "Well, I am quite a good customer of yours". This rang no bells. Maybe his superiors have failed to explain the fairly significant bearing happy customers have on his salary being paid. He was, in the good old-fashioned way, only following orders. …

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