Posts Tagged ‘customer service


Social media case study “plays in Peoria”

I started in marketing working on consumer packaged goods brands.  New products always had to prove themselves in mid-West test markets.  The logic was, if a new product demonstrated success in a place considered a typical American city, it would be a hit nationally.  But, first, it had to “play in Peoria.”

Companies went to great length and considerable expense to find these middle-ground markets and replicate the exact environment to occur for a national launch.

Now, the learning and formula for success is more expedient.  A restaurant in Milwaukee, WI,  used Twitter and now it accounts for 75% of business.   The restaurant is AJ Bombers and that’s a large percentage.  Its owner, Joe Sorge, says AJ Bombers wouldn’t be in business without Twitter.  Joe says it keeps relationships alive.  It gives him the ability to communicate with customers every day, thank them, and, if they ever have a bad experience, he has the chance, through Twitter, to make it right, right away.

Frankly, what Joe just described is good business strategy through any media channel.  But I have a feeling it’s one of many you’ll be hearing from social media.  Here’s Joe’s testimonial; one that “plays in Peoria.”

This story tweeted by my friend, Steve Haweeli, whose company on the East end of Long Island, WordHampton PR, knows about PR, social media, restaurant marketing and good business strategy, like Joe’s.


Worst practices

It’s a bloggers prerogative to vent, occasionally.

Toyota makes great cars but their customer care in financial services is the worst.  I’m a Toyota advocate.

We have a 2007 Toyota Highlander.  My son, a sophomore at Rochester Institute of Technology, decided to buy a car with his own money.  He decided on a Toyota Corolla.  I’m a proud and grateful parent but, when billing problems occurred, I was not proud of Toyota Financial Services.

Here are “worst practices:”

1. 800 NUMBER – We’re here for you…maybe. The 800 number for questions is on the bill but they don’t mention the number only works from 8 am to 8 pm.  If you call other than these times, you get a pre-recorded message about “debt relief” and get disconnected.

2. CALL CENTER – Have a great experience on our terms. If you persist (obviously I did), you get a “User Experience Number,” a call center where Toyota says its goal is to give every customer a “positive experience,” with NINE automated prompts to listen, remember and think about.  Isn’t a positive user experience with nine prompts a contradiction in terms?

3.  SURVEY – Only tell us how great we are. After listening to the nine prompts and completing your call, you can take a survey.  Toyota emphasizes again they want you to have a “positive experience.”  I finally got to a real person to explain my situation and take the survey.  They thanked me for the call and hung up.  I guess to make sure Toyota has a “positive experience.”

Most significant, we are being double-billed with late fees and left with the impression – we sold you the car; now, we don’t care.

Companies boast about “best practices.”  But what if they go astray?  I don’t believe our experience was intentional.  It’s the result of committee decisions to serve too many agendas to save money at the cost of caring for customers.

Hey, Toyota, wake up!  Don’t treat people like this and think we won’t speak up, especially when it’s a blogger prerogative to vent.

Care to share your story on “worst practices” and make the (business) world a better place?

June 2019
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