Customer Service

Not So Avid About Their Service

Why would a company have a customer support policy that states they will answer your questions in 48 business hours? The company is Avid and particularly their Pinnacle product group. By the way, I'm pretty sure that Avid has a great reputation in the industry. I don't know if Pinnacle enjoys that rep but let's assume they do.

I bought some new video editing software last week after calling the company's sales department and asking some questions about their products. I wanted to make sure I got exactly what I needed because I didn't want to end up going down the road of software and hardware compatibility hell. Well, I ended up there anyway and I've wasted hours trying to make something work that probably isn't going to work because it needs another device to work.

Which brings me to their support. I could have opted for a chat but having already had a chat with their sales group and finding out they sold me the wrong thing, I was in no mood for a chat. I wanted an answer in writing with a solution. And, I wanted it yesterday. Well, actually two days ago but since I bought the software on Friday, I was out of luck since the weekend isn't considered business days.

But, that's not true. I checked. Avid is still are willing to sell you anything on the weekend. No waiting. Which kind of sounds like their business is all about them. Not you and me.

That doesn't make them a bad company. It just means they aren't any different from lots of other companies. They aren't extraordinary. And, that's too bad because I've read some good things about their products. Well, at least their high-end products used by Emmy and Oscar winning people.

Taking good care of the guy who spent less than $100 on a home video software package probably isn't considered good business when it comes to dollars and cents. I mean how much more am I likely to spend with them?

That's the beauty of the web. They have no idea.

I could be an 18 year old kid who will grow up to be the next Spielberg.

I might be married to the decision maker who is about to make a major editing suite product decision. 

I might be a major investor checking them out by going in the customer door.

Whoever I am -  I'll remember how I was treated when I did business with them.

And, I bet you'll remember this story too.

What kind of stories are your customers telling people?

I Kissed a Tomato Today

Right before I sunk my teeth into it this morning, I gave it a kiss. It was a beautiful tomato and I grew it in my back yard. I decided it would make a great breakfast. So, like I did when I was a kid and would sneak into my Grandpa's garden, I ate it just like someone might eat an apple. No cutting. Just biting so that the sweet juices flowed down my chin and the scent of the last 60 summers of my life wafted into my nostrils. I closed my eyes and let my sense of taste and smell be overwhelmed by the one-of-a-kind sensation you get from a fresh-picked, home-grown tomato.

When I was finished eating, I went to wipe off my face. But first, I need to look in the mirror. And, for a moment, I didn't see the face of an almost 60 year old man looking back. For the moment, I saw the skinny, freckled-face, little boy who was lucky enough to grow up where he could pick tomatoes, beans, peppers and corn and eat them straight from the garden. It was a wonderful vision and both the skinny kid and the grown man were smiling so hard their face hurt.

Agriculturists have been trying for years to duplicate the taste and smell of that kind of tomato. And, they still haven't been able to create it. They keep trying because they know that when they are finally successful, they will have one of the best selling agricultural products ever grown.

Can you imagine what it would mean for your business if you could
provide the same kind of experience and satisfaction for your customers
as people get from eating a home grown tomato? Do you keep trying to create an even better product and service?

Do you have the kind of business that makes your customers want to kiss you? Do they smile when they think of you? Do they continue to use your services or products as often as possible because they enjoy the experience so much?

Close your eyes and imagine biting into that home grown tomato as you answer these questions. If tomatoes aren't to your liking then how about a piece of sweet corn right from the stalk dripping with sugar and so delicious it doesn't need cooked. Close your eyes and ask yourself if you're customers feel this way when they buy from you.

That's how we want to feel. I bet you do too. Now do something about it.

Are You Acting Like Delta Airlines?

I got my Delta Sky Miles report last week. Right on time as usual. They've been sending it to me ever since frequent flyer reports have been on the web. However, I haven't flown on any of their aircraft for at least 15 years.

Now you'd think the software that runs Sky Miles might notice that fact. Then Delta could send me a more personalized email checking to see if I'm alive, or able to travel, or have taken a vow never to fly their airline again.

But, that never happens. I just keep getting a useless report with information on how to book my free flights and how I can buy 3 club memberships and get a 4th one free. 

They aren't spamming me. Back when all airlines put their programs on the web, I entered all my frequent flyer numbers since I was traveling quite a bit and I had some miles on Delta from an international flight. And, then one day I got an email telling me that I was being punished. Since I hadn't flown them lately or used my miles, they were taking them back. Poof! They were gone and all my reports since state " zero miles earned."

I know what you're thinking. All the airlines take back their miles if you don't use them or continue to be a customer. Actually, I notice that pretty much all the airlines do exactly what each other does when it comes to how they treat their customers. All except one. And, you know what's interesting? That one airline seems to be the only one that is profitable.

I still fly commercial airlines. But, I don't have any loyalty to a particular company anymore. Airlines taught me over the years that they certainly don't have any loyalty towards their customers.

You might want to check your customer lists this week. If you're marketing to people who don't have any loyalty toward you or your brand, you might want to back up a few steps and start to develop some again.

Just a thought.

Has Your Banker Hugged You Lately?

If the concept of hugging and bankers strikes you as incongruous, I completely understand. However, my banker hugged me today – twice in fact. It struck me as I was leaving the bank that if more bankers were willing to hug their customers, we might have a much better appreciation for the industry in these difficult financial times.

Of course, hugs don't have to be the kind where you wrap your arms around the other person and squeeze. Hugs make you feel better. I can't think of ever having a bad one. Even from my old friend Jim from Ohio, who was the size of a bear and could squeeze the breath out of you whenever we'd meet up again after years of not seeing each other. It still felt really good.

But, back to my bank and banker. The bank is PNC and the branch is located in Chalfont, PA. The branch manager is a fantastic lady by the name of Claire Signs. She's also the hugger.

My wife Joann, who has never met Claire, called her for the first time earlier this week. Joann is a very astute judge of people and after one phone call between her and Claire, Joann couldn't say enough about what a "sweetheart" she is and what "fantastic customer service" she experienced.

A bank is just bricks and mortar – until you add the main ingredient – people. The same is true of all of our businesses – large or small.

Claire understands that as well as anyone I've ever met. My first contact with her was about two years ago. The Chalfont branch had just recently opened and Claire was its new manager. I was so overwhelmed with my first visit that I thought there must be a hidden camera recording us for a future seminar on how to deliver world class service. It was that good.

Two years later and guess what? It's just gotten better. When I asked Clarie her secret she said, "It's not hard. You just have to be nice to people and treat them how you'd want to be treated. I find out what we can do for them and then I do everything I can to make that happen."

She also obviously knows how to lead as the rest of her branch does the exact same things.

And, you know what really excites me? I've noticed in the past year when I've visited other PNC branches there are lots of changes. People are making eye contact, smiling, calling me by name, opening doors and stepping up service.

I have a suspicion Claire is also hugging her fellow bankers too.

Learn How to Recognize and Sell to the Four Personality Types

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Selling To The Four Personality Types