When Is Advertising The Enemy?

I was posting an article about the importance of customer service when I came across an article that had the opening line, “SURVEY RESULT: 86 percent of U.S. adults will pay more for a better customer experience. So why do companies continue to cut customer service costs and increase spending on marketing?”  My mind immediate went off on a rant, so I went with it.

The article from Win The Customer had some amazing statistics about customer service including:

86% – The number of U.S. adults who will pay more for a better customer experience.

89% – The number of U.S. adults who switched to a competitor because they had a bad customer experience.

73% – The number of U.S. adults who said a friendly customer service made them fall in love with a brand.

I thought to myself, “What the hell is going on here!?”  Businesses who cut costs on customer service, or customer service training and instead utilize it for marketing are taking the easy way out.  Hell, I’d go as far as to say they’re taking the cowards way out.

You Should Be Proud Of Your Product!

Sales 101 tells you that being a salesman is a transfer of confidence.  The same is such for the small business owner.  Every business is, essentially in terms of marketing, is a product itself.  You’re confident in your product (or you shouldn’t be in business) and you know it’s the best thing since sliced bread, so you’re going to let people know why.  You’re going to tell them the benefits and why (or how) it’s necessary   So, if you’re spending less money dealing with customers (and their complaints) and more time getting people through the door (through advertising) it makes it seem, to me, like you’re not proud of the product.  Furthermore, what kind of product or service do you have that you’re willing to let these customers go without a fight!

The Rotating Door Product !

It also subtly implies that you’re all right with not retaining customers.  If you dump enough money into advertising then your business will have a steady stream of new customers.  The problem is those customers are never coming back!  That to me, sounds like a pretty horrible way to run a business, not to mention the fact that eventually you’re bad customer service is going to catch up with you and all the marketing in the world couldn’t save you.

So if you’re not worried with customers coming back because you’ll just get new ones, remember that a dissatisfied customers tell between 9-15 people about their bad experience and around 13% tell more than 20 people. (Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs)  If that many people are going to know your company sucks, then chances are that your advertising will become less effective because it’s falling on deaf ears.

Use Their Weakness As Your Strength!

You should take a minute out of your day and think about any competing businesses that have this horrible mantra.  Then welcome those customers!  If they had a bad experience, then technically all you have to do is have ‘regular customer service‘ to win them over.  But think about it, what if you blew them out of the water with over-the-top, super friendly customer service?  Not only would the customer ‘fall in love with the brand‘ but they would also be a little more understanding if something goes wrong one day and their unhappy.  And let’s be honest…you’re happy, their happy…everyone win’s (except your competitor.)

The Avis Challenge

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On the same topic, I remember when I first heard about the Avis “We Try Harder” Campaign.  It started in 1962 and it worked wonders.  If you don’t know the story, it basically started because Avis would always come in second place to Hertz car rentals.   After Avis revamped their customer service and products the ad agency Doyle Dane and Bernbach (DDB) came in a coined the tag line “We’re No. 2” and “We Try Harder”.  This simply meant that they were going to try harder to get (and keep) your business because they weren’t first place.  Absolutely brilliant.  If you look at some of the ads designed below (courtesy of sellsellblog.blogspot.com ) you can see that they went right for the jugular and brought that little statement to life.


Avis didn’t just come up with a catchy tag line to sell rentals.  They didn’t say “Oh Well” to all the unsatisfied customers, only to hare DDB to get new customers.  They restructured their customer service and their products and then let people know that they restructured.  Bill Bernbach actually went to Avis and told them to restructure.  He explained,  “It’s always a mistake to make good advertising for a bad product.”

Try harder and your customers will thank you.  They’ll thank you and you’ll stay in business!

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Hi, I'm a marketing guy, who knows how to make websites. Every so often I see or think of things, that will be of value to others. It's either that or I just need to 'rage-vent.'



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