Just because it’s called Customer Care doesn’t mean it is!

Customer care used to be about satisfying the customer. Does it feel like it has become all about companies saving money by not having to speak to the customer? Tell me again why I am paying money to my bank for using an ATM? Sometimes I feel like I am at a Gallagher comedy event when he asks the audience how Teflon sticks to the pan …

Clark Howard’s radio show is one of my favorite places to get consumer advice, and I am especially happy to listen when my friend Ilyce Glink substitutes for him periodically … I can hear them both saying “Oh you mean Customer NO Service?”

Lately this seems to be the case, and one of the easiest ways to derail a hard earned reputation and marketing efforts.

Best example: Renewing any magazine or other subscription services. Have you seen the amount of data you have to input online to renew? And then you too often have to commit to that renewal being automatically renewed forever unless of course you remember to cancel? Solution: send the renewal email or postcard in an envelope with a check for one year! Then you are in control of whether or not you want to pay for this service again. Faster to write the check, fill out the postcard and affix a stamp then to do the lengthy on-line process. Customer delight? I think not.

Wishing for: More services like Amazon. Easy-breezy to use, very clear communicators, even intuitive, transparent with costs and other customer reviews and a great return policy. I bought Amazon stock long ago and have been rewarded in several ways ever since.

Ironic – just as I write this our doorbell rings and it is a nice looking salesman named Alex. He is selling private labeled steaks, seafood and organic vegetables. He tells me he services a few of our neighbors and provides their names. He tells me about his company, its history, philosophy, quality of the products and prices.

I am so impressed by this guy that I call my husband to the front door to join the conversation. Alex opens his truck’s freezer to show us his products and we end up buying enough to keep us full for weeks.

His sales process has no strings, he gives us his business card, processes our credit card and sends us an emailed receipt and when he leaves we are very glad he rang our doorbell.

Wow, everything I was mentioning above that should be or could be part of customer service – actually was exemplified by this random sales call. I am impressed. Not that I want too many people ringing our doorbell but it was nice to know someone was willing to give a good product and great service in exchange for our hard-earned dollars.

And by the way, the steaks were great too.

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