From Irate to Loyal Supporter

Father’s Day came around whenever it was. I have trouble keeping it straight without a calendar because it’s not accompanied with as much fanfare as Mother’s Day.

I was greeted in the morning with a card from my wife and kids (they just scribbled with a pen
and I think my wife had to help my 10-month-old do even that). She told me that my present was on its way: a flex pack of 8 tickets to the Washington Wild Things.

Better than the big piece of chicken.

If you’re not within 30 miles of Little Washington as we call it (or even Little Warshington to some), you probably don’t know about this baseball team. Like many minor league teams, they try harder in almost all aspects of the organization.

Great Reputation

Plus way more affordable than major league games. I can’t even imagine the discrepancy of season ticket price to win ratios would be between the Pirates and Wild Things.

Even their mascot is first-rate. The Wild Thing is invited all over the region to show off his trade.

The Screw Up

Back to the story. So my wife ordered the tickets on the Monday before Father’s Day. She followed up with a phone call on Thursday or Friday inquiring whether she’d get them in time. No one returned her call.

She then followed up with an email the next week, upset that she still had not received the tickets and no one had returned her call. She sent the email to the sales rep / manager (forget which one) she worked with and copied the President of the organization. The President did a reply all asking the rep / manager to see him.

More days go by and no calls or emails. My wife then sends another email to the President expressing her dissatisfaction, what a nice time we had at the game earlier in the week, reiterating all the great things she had heard about the organization, and wondering why we hadn’t heard anything.

Owning Up Time

My old boss’ father used to tell him, “You only have two chances to make a first impression: the first time you meet someone and the first time you screw up.” Mr. Fazio was a wise man.

Shortly after sending the email, my wife received a voice mail from someone else from the organization. He apologized for the two screw ups and said it’s not the type of thing that normally happens to them once let alone twice. He then said he’d charge back the credit card, send back the tickets, and include a free hat and shirt.

Use Your Head

The Wild Things representative immediately won over my wife. Sure they ate a couple bucks, but they’ll make it back up in beer coke sales when I attend the games. Yet, how often do people not get this?

Just last week, one of my friends had an awful experience (which has happened before) at a local restaurant. When she complained about a special order they were told originally could originally be served, and then told they couldn’t get after waiting 15 minutes, the manager was brought in.

What was the manager’s response? No remorse and an offer to not have to pay for the order they never received. Well played, lass. (Sorry, Paul’s Britainism is rubbing off on me.)

Big time tip to any managers or people in customer service out there – say you’re sorry whether you mean it or not. Simply saying, “I apologize” can put out more fires than you imagine, especially when you follow up by asking what you can do to make the situation right.

Client Services in the Digital World

These basic principles are no different in the online world. Give great service, treat people right, and own up to mistakes. The only difference with online marketing through email and Web sites, is that in many instances there are tools that can automate things to make your life easier.

One example. A client orders online? Set up an automated email that recaps their order and tells them what to expect.

Corporate blogs are also really useful in being able to interact with your customers and keeping them happy.

Monitor What People are Saying about You

One last tip for this lovely Friday. Find out what people are saying about your company. Monitor chat rooms and forums. Make sure you’re not on sites like the Bad Business Bureau / Rip Off Report. If you are, tackle the problem head on – I know one company in particular that was submitted by a disgruntled customer. After responding to the client, he wrote back in to say he’d recommend the company to anyone.

Even better, make it easy on yourself and set up Google Alerts for your name and your company’s name. They’ll send you periodic links when your names are mentioned. It’s fast and free.

Justin Seibert

About The Author

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, Advertising Age, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

View Justin's full bio.
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